We like to think that people grow out of being bullies, but humanity never ceases to disappoint. A woman in Michigan encountered this problem the other day while waiting to buy a coffee at her local Tim Hortons.
When you’re waiting for coffee, especially with a toddler, the last thing you need is two complete strangers insulting you for no reason.
Dianne Hoffmeyer of Fort Gratiot, Michigan, was out with her small child. She was there to pick up some donut holes as a treat, as well as some much-needed coffee after a few sleepless nights taking care of her teething baby. It was a pretty typical situation, but things quickly turned ugly.
Two middle-aged women behind her began to openly mock Hoffmeyer, insulting her appearance and weight. Hoffmeyer heard them say things like, “Oh look at her hair, it’s nasty looking and the roots are coming through.” They even said that “the whale needs to eat.” That one stung, as Hoffmeyer had recently lost 177 pounds and was trying to continue losing weight. She could feel the tears welling up as she approached the counter. “I don’t know the women,” Hoffmeyer says. “I don’t know why they would choose to say something like that.”
All these two wanted to do was go out for a few treats.
After hearing those insults, what might you have done? Would you have ignored them and run away? Would you have turned and confronted the bullies? It’s a very awkward situation to be in, but Hoffmeyer handled it brilliantly — and effectively.
Instead of slinking out of the store or turning on the women, Hoffmeyer told the cashier that she would be paying for their coffees. The cashier, who had heard the insults, was shocked, but agreed to set up the transaction. After making the purchase, Hoffmeyer sat in her car and wept, but she doesn’t regret her decision.
Even recounting the incident is painful for Hoffmeyer, but she’s glad that she took the high road.
She said that she wanted to set a better example for her daughter. And her actions worked. The bullies shut right up, and they haven’t been seen in that restaurant since. Much to her surprise, Hoffmeyer has been gaining attention and support from all over.
So what would she do if she were to encounter the cruel women again? “I’d like to buy them another cup of coffee,” she says with a slight smile. She says she’d like to sit down and discuss how their words made her feel, and why they felt the need to be so senselessly mean to a stranger.
Watch Hoffmeyer tell her story:
Remember, dear readers, that words can hurt. Think about that the next time you want to say something mean for no reason, whether in person or online.