This story is crazy, upsetting, and a lesson to all (including myself).

I debated telling this story, as it is pretty vulgar, but I think it is important. I want this story to reach the six teenagers who were all at fault. I want this story to reach the two women employees who were rudely berated.

And I want to be able to look back at this story as a reminder to myself and those in my shoes in the future.

A few months ago I went to the mall for the first time since I was probably a teenager. As I was leaving, I started to hear some yelling. Not bad, not good. I could tell that a situation was a little tense.

I walked over to the noise to see six teenage boys, probably 17-18 years old and most wearing backpacks, arguing with two employees at Spencer's. What I gathered within seconds was this: the two employees were accusing at least one, if not the whole group, of stealing items from the store.

Things escalated quickly.

I decided to walk over to make sure the yelling did not turn into anything extra. What I encountered next was flat-out wrong.

At least three of the boys started calling the employees names. At least two of them reordered the employees to publicly embarrass them. And one of the boys was the most out of line...

As this started to unfold, I went over and got in the middle - literally. Unsure of exactly how it started, I was not quick to jump on sides; however, when the ringleader started to act on his own, I needed to do more.

The ringleader walked away, flexing his biceps, screaming rude phrases, and calling the women fat, ugly, and worse.

The only words I was able to get out to the group was, "woah, guys there's no need for that at all. Let's not do this."

That's all I got out. It all happened really fast. And I have been left feeling guilty about my poor response for months.


To the ring leader - I hope this gets to you and you realize your wrongs. Especially after cooling off for, at this point a few months. I mean, you were way out of line. Let's say the employee wrongly accused you of stealing. Sure, have a chip on your shoulder...but leave.

There was no reason to berate either of the women. You embarrassed them, but more so yourself. There is still time to right your wrongs. The women working were calm. They heard every insult you threw their way while flexing your muscles, calling yourself "big boy." I bet if you acknowledged your wrongs and apologized, they would hear you out. Right now you may think, "hell no, I am not going back there." Trust me, you will regret what took place years from now. You will remember every mean word you said and regret the way you acted at 17. Make it right and learn from this.

To the group of boys - you are way out of line, just as much as the flexing ringleader. You let it happen. No one stopped him. No one spoke up. What was worse, you recorded it.

To the boy with a cross earring in one ear, you recorded your buddy verbally abusing two female employees for clicks, likes, and attention on social media. You are all just as at fault for not speaking up, not mediating, and recording these women as you were making fun of them.

To the women employees - 1. You did not deserve that. I told you that after it happened. I went right up to you and asked if you were okay, and apologized that that happened. 2. You are both tough. You took every insult with a grain of salt and moved right on. You did not back down, but you did not escalate things either.

I wish I had gotten more involved in the moment. Ladies, I let them walk away without really knowing just how wrong they were for treating you like that. That was not right. I should have done more.


To me, future me, and anyone in my shoes in the future - Stick up for your fellow community members. I physically got in the middle, and sure, I followed up with the female employees. But I should have done more.

I should have said more. I should have said, "are you all out of your mind? You, ringleader, for speaking to a woman this way. You, group of friends, for allowing your buddy to speak to her like he did. And you, earring boy, for recording the scene for attention and clicks. You don't speak to anyone like or woman." That's what I should have said.

I will try to be better, as should you boys.

I will use this story as a reminder to myself to be kind and stick up for to our community members.

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