Sounds Like Someone Made A Friend!

, , , , | Friendly | May 28, 2021

As a black American living in Germany, I’ve had my share of “unusual” experiences with strangers based on my skin color, whether it’s someone getting up and moving when I sit across from them on a bus or a smarta** teenager coming up to me and yelling, “Yo! Yo! Yo! Compton!”

My most memorable ones always involve small children, such as one child who removed her hand from her mouth and proceeded to rub her slobbery fingers on my cheek, causing her poor mother to turn bright red and profusely apologize.

But my favorite was an incident in which I was working in a restaurant sweeping up and a woman motioned me to come over. She motioned toward her daughter who looked about three or four.

Woman: “My daughter won’t eat her food and keeps watching your every move. I think you’re the first black person she’s ever seen. Can you say something nice to her?”

I made sure to put on a large smile, told her my name, and asked for hers — which she squeaked in a barely audible voice — complimented her stuffed dog that she was clutching, and gave her a fun-sized packet of jelly beans that employees include with kiddy meals. By then, she managed a smile, and her mother thanked me before I went on back to work.

They did come back to the restaurant a few other times after that, and the mother would always come to my register, with the child smiling brightly whenever she saw me.

I just hope the impression I gave will be a lasting one on that sweet child.

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