To all residents of Plymouth and those tourists visiting us on vacation, please try to be kinder.
A day and a half of enjoying Plymouth and I’m convinced we can do better.
Last Thursday I drove to Dillon’s Local to treat myself to a birthday lunch: short rib grilled cheese on sourdough, a classic. Just a perfect day – mid 70s and sunny. I parked directly across the street. Got out of my car, looked both ways, and walked to get lunch. After crossing, someone screamed from a passing car: “This isn’t a crosswalk you a**hole; go f*** yourself.” I still am shocked and confused. Yes, I jaywalked, but do you really need to cuss me out for walking across the road to get a sandwich?
I was soon reminded that verbal harassment from passing cars can vary widely in severity.
Thirty-six hours later, I’m walking with my wife, Katie, to The Tasty for dinner. We get to the top of the Brewster Garden’s walking path, where it intersects with Sandwich and Pleasant streets. Two teenage Latina girls were sitting on the wooden guard rails, one in complete distress. She was shaking and crying – clearly physically disturbed. I was scared for her and thought the worst.
My wife asked if everything was OK. Understandably, we were immediately brushed off. We walked five steps, looked at each other, and then turned back. Something was wrong. They opened up a bit.
It turns out, a middle-aged, white man in a rust colored sedan screamed from his window that the young girl was “fat.”
The girl who was harassed was 14 years old, a child. This harassment shook her deeply. She covered her stomach, cried, and trembled while we waited with her to gain composure. When her friend called her mom for a ride home, she also asked for a sweatshirt so her friend could cover up. While waiting to be rescued, she was consoled by her friend with the innocent thought of going home and watching Disney +.
This is a fragile child, people.
To the old, white dude who harassed her, please deal with your issues in a less destructive way. You temporarily broke this girl. She was shaking, crying, and begging for something, anything to cover up her body that you callously and cowardly judged to be imperfect from the anonymity of your passing car. The only good news is that this young lady is resilient, merely because she has to be. That’s the sad world she was born into.
To all residents of Plymouth and those tourists visiting us on vacation, please try to be kinder. The amplification of stress, anxiety, and depression by the global health pandemic is well documented. You have no idea what other folks are going through even during “normal” times; please don’t add fuel to the fire through senseless acts of harassment. And if you’re struggling with your own stress, anxiety, or depression, seek help and don’t harm others. There’s no doubt we can and must do better, Plymouth.
Collin Ward, Plymouth
Read More: OPINION/LETTER: 36 hours of harassment in Plymouth – News – Wicked Local