Chipping Away At A Translation

| USA | Family & Kids, Language & Words, Theme Of The Month

(I am eating lunch in the lobby of my store, having a sandwich and a bag of chips, when a Spanish-speaking family walks in with a three-year-old boy. As they order, he walks a few feet over to me and points at my bag of chips. I don’t speak any Spanish.)

Little Boy: *pointing at my chips, saying something in Spanish*

Me: “Sorry, sweetie, these are mine. Maybe your mommy can get you some?”

(The little boy is pointing more furiously now, repeating a phrase I don’t understand.)

Me: “I’ll let you have some of mine if your mommy says it’s okay. I don’t want to give you anything you’re not allowed to have.”

(The little boy repeats the phrase again. This time, his teenage sister, standing in line, rushes over and pulls him away.)

Sister: “I’m so sorry!”

Me: “Oh, that’s okay! If it’s okay for him to have some he can—”

(By this point she has dragged the little boy to the other side of the store, where his parents are paying. I finish my break and go into the back to put away my purse and grab my apron. My Spanish-speaking coworker rushes over to me.)

Coworker: “Are you okay?”

Me: “Yeah, why?”

Coworker: “You didn’t hear what he was saying to you?”

Me: “I figured he wanted some of my chips.”

Coworker: “Yeah, then he started calling you a f****** a**-hole!”

Although He Uses A Lot Of Ranch

| Syracuse, NY, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Food & Drink, Theme Of The Month, Top

(There is a customer coming through my line that is wearing cowboy clothing complete with 10-gallon hat, shiny belt buckle, and cowboy boots. There is another customer with a young boy standing behind them. I watch as the boy yanks on his mother’s skirt and points to the man in front.)

Young Boy: “Excuse me, sir; are you a REAL cowboy?”

Customer: *in a thick Texas drawl* “Why yes little man I am, but I only got to be a real cowboy because I ate all my vegetables and listened to my mother.”

(The customer then tips his hat to the mother and leaves. The boy does nothing but gush about his cowboy experience.)

Young Boy: “Mom! Go get more vegetables!”

The First And True Language Of America

| Santa Fe, NM, USA | Bigotry, History, Language & Words, Top

(I’m waiting in line behind a woman speaking on her cellphone in another language. Ahead of her is a white man. After the woman hangs up, he speaks up.)

Man: “I didn’t want to say anything while you were on the phone, but you’re in America now. You need to speak English.”

Woman: “Excuse me?”

Man: *very slow* “If you want to speak Mexican, go back to Mexico. In America, we speak English.”

Woman: “Sir, I was speaking Navajo. If you want to speak English, go back to England.”