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It Pays To Know Your History

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: Minigun_Mittens | December 1, 2020

I live in the UK but I’m from former Czechoslovakia. I don’t have the usual Slavic accent for people to immediately know, but it’s strong enough to leave people guessing where I’m from. It is fun most of the time.

I’m also interested in history, so I know that the UK, France, and Italy pretty much sold Czechoslovakia to Hitler in 1938 to prevent a war.

It was a normal day at the café where I work. I am at a cash register and this man walks in. Everyone who works in customer service eventually develops that feeling for people who will cause trouble. I have that feeling the moment I see him enter. He looks like he’s in his sixties, and at first, he is nice when he comes up to order.

But as soon as I speak, his smile vanishes. He looks me up and down.

Man: “Where are you from?”

Me: *With a smile* “Oh, I’m from [Former Czechoslovakia]. I study here—”

Man: “How dare you be here?! You leech on our economy and take our jobs!”

I don’t leech on the economy any more than any British person on minimum wage, and I’m here legally. I am shocked for a bit as panic and disgust start to storm inside me. The man does on about how immigrants ruin his country and his town — one of the most culturally various towns in the UK — and how we should all go back to where we came from.

After what feels like an eternity, I get the idea for a perfect comeback. I smile.

Me: “Well, it’s the least I could do to say, ‘Thank you!’ for selling us to Hitler in 1938!”

This time, the man was shocked. His expression was priceless. He stood there and looked around for some support, and when he realised he wouldn’t find, it he stormed off.

I’m not very good at confrontation. but I’m proud of this one, and I didn’t even get in trouble because, as I learnt that day, my boss has Jewish Ukrainian heritage.