Hatred and racism came home to the local supermarket line this week.
When a popular chef and his two little boys tried to be good Samaritans and help a patron with a flat tire, a middle-aged customer decided that was just the right time to make his Angry Man Speech.
“I know how you Mexicans are with not having manners!” Angry Man told chef Kevin Martinez of Yatai Food Kart and the soon-to-reopen Tokyo Cafe.
Martinez and his boys had finished shopping but came back when the man was checking out. Martinez asked a cashier for a moment’s help to plug in a portable air compressor.
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In front of Martinez’s boys, Eli, 7, and Alex, 5, the man bellowed, “This isn’t Mexico!”
He went on: “It’s always the same thing with you Mexicans!”
The way Martinez told the story on Facebook, he explained to the man — Martinez nicknamed him “Cheap Suit Guy” — that he was trying to help a woman in the parking lot. Then he plugged in the air pump.
Angry Man pushed his cart up behind Martinez and bumped him.
This time, the man said: “Rude, nasty Mexicans! You shouldn’t be allowed to have kids!”
In Martinez’s Facebook post, he wrote: “By this point, I was shaking as bad as Shakira’s hips in concert. I looked down at my boys as they enjoyed the 50-cent toys they just got.”
Martinez said he told the man: “I hope you’re not teaching your children this hate. Good luck looking at yourself in the mirror every morning.
I hope you’re not teaching your children this hate. Good luck looking at yourself in the mirror every morning.
Chef Kevin Martinez to a name-calling grocery patron
“Oh, and by the way, your zipper’s broke.”
Then the Martinezes went on to help the grateful customer.
“There was no need to bring the kids into this at all,” Martinez, 31, from Boyd, said this week.
As an American Latino sushi chef working in Asian restaurant kitchens, he said, ““That’s one reason I love the kitchen — nobody cares where you’re from or what you look like.
“It’s just astonishing to me that people still think that way.”
Martinez wrote that he doesn’t remember the last time he wanted so badly to kick somebody around.
We got to help that lady!
Martinez’s son remembering the good deed, not the confrontation
Instead, he used the moment to teach his boys about turning away and helping others.
“My boys learned a great lesson,” Martinez wrote on Facebook.
I can only imagine what the little boys thought of Angry Man. But that wasn’t their only memory.
“All I know,” Martinez said this week, “is what they said when we were going home.
“One boy said, ‘We got to help that lady!’ And the other said. ‘Now she’s safe!’ ”
Maybe Angry Man’s house is the place to build that wall.