Brewing Up A Storm
He had no idea that he was about to leave the supermarket in such turmoil since it had seemed like a usual shopping trip. He wasn’t upset by the long lines at the checkout counter, though, or the crowd of people in the produce aisle.
Neither was it the screaming children or the mindless mothers pushing their carts in front of him in a haze. When he glanced into another family’s shopping cart, he felt a storm start to brew inside of him.
Trying His Best
Patrick Gibson was hard-working and did his best to support his small family. He thought his life might get easier when he enrolled in the U.S. Army.
It was undoubtedly difficult for him to leave his family for months to serve his country. However, if there was one lesson his parents taught him, it was that nothing was ever given for free.
Bringing In The Bacon
When Patrick met Whitney, the love of his life, he considered himself blessed and the happy couple got married soon after. He was a father of a boy and a girl before he even knew it.
Nonetheless, the couple fell on tough times, and with only one person bringing in the bacon, they had to make do with what they could afford.
Providing For Four
Patrick often missed breakfast so his family could eat, and his $70 could stretch as far as possible. When you have four people to provide for, $70 doesn’t get you very far, and after household costs like diapers, gas, car payments, and toiletries, the Gibsons hardly scraped by.
Patrick, however, thought to himself that it was alright and that he was satisfied with what he had. They could cope with what they had, somehow.
Going Grocery Shopping
Patrick determined that he would visit the local Walmart to do some grocery shopping after he noticed that he had a little left over from his paycheck one month. He attentively selected the specials and best buys as he walked through the aisles, doing tallies in his head.
He studied the gorgeously red grapes in the produce section as he thought he could perhaps bring a little treat for the family that day. His smile was about to be erased, but Patrick did not know it yet.
Seeing how packed it was that day, he didn’t want to be in Walmart for longer than he had to. Mothers listlessly pushed their wailing children, and impolite people rammed into the back of Patrick’s heels with their shopping carts. It was about time to get out of there.
He didn’t know that the small action of pushing his meager portion of groceries to the checkout line and waiting to be served would completely spoil his day.
Patrick wistfully noticed the two overfilled carts in front of him as the line of shuffling shover crawled forward. He made out every luxury item he could dream of teeming over in the two carts, from fresh steaks, cheese, butter, bacon, and shrimp, to lobster even.
As they started to unpack their goodies onto the counter, he mumbled to himself, “Must be nice.” He could not foresee that his next action would incite the wrath of thousands.
It wasn’t unexpected when the number that flashed on the screen was a maddening $800 after the couple packed and totaled their groceries.
Patrick was utterly astonished when the man drew out his wallet to pay and opened it. He reached for an EBT card after pushing a wad of $100 bills aside.
A Special Card
For those unaware, an EBT card, otherwise known as an electronic benefits card, is an electronic food stamp system that permits state welfare departments to administer benefits through a payment card.
This was what the man used to pay for his luxury items. Patrick had witnessed enough and furiously tugged out his phone.
Patrick was angry that they could manage to pay for groceries themselves, despite it not being wrong that the couple was using an EBT card.
The unfairness of it all chewed at him as he watched. How could this be alright? It was then that he chose to do the unthinkable.
Patrick was in a rage, but he bit his tongue and snapped a picture. But wait… maybe he was too quick to judge, he thought, holding back his fury.
After all, he couldn’t know what the couple’s situation was. But what he saw next in the Walmart parking lot was about to be the final straw.
Loading It All Up
The couple took some time to load the enormous amount of loot into the back of their car, so Patrick had already finished paying for his three bags of groceries when he passed them in the parking lot.
Glancing to his right, he saw them again. This was a big mistake because he looked at the wrong time.
The fact that these people were paying for their groceries with food stamps while they had fat stacks of cash in their wallets put Patrick into a state of rage, but he had already made peace with what he had just seen and had decided to shake it off.
But that’s when he walked through the parking lot and saw the car they were driving. It was just too much.
Taking To Social Media
The couple who had bought $800 worth of groceries were loading their loot into a brand-new Hyundai Genesis, a car which, according to Patrick, sells from between $15,000 to $20,000 more than his own family’s car.
How had they possibly managed to afford a car like this while they were on welfare?
To Patrick, this extra detail of the family driving an extravagant car around just added insult to injury. For those of you who don’t know much about cars, a brand-new Hyundai Genesis is a pretty nice car.
Sure, it’s no Tesla, but it’s a very expensive model of a respectable brand – and it’s certainly out of the price range of someone who would normally be on welfare. His blood was boiling as he took to Facebook to express his outrage.
He began his rant on Facebook with: “Sorry, but I had to vent. The picture you see on the left is the amount of groceries, including diapers, that I was able to afford this pay period for my family…”
He continued: “wife, son, daughter, myself, which was paid in cash since I actually work hard for a living. The picture on the right is of the purchase in front of me in line.” But he didn’t end his rant there.
“If you can’t tell in the picture, there are two full buggies of groceries, including such items like steak and some other very nice choices of food. Here’s the kicker. This purchase was made in food stamps,” Patrick continued.
“…Which I wouldn’t have a problem with if I didn’t see the person move their big fold of cash out of the way to get to the EBT card and then load them into the back of a brand new Hyundai Genesis.”
“That is about 15k-20k more than my car,” Patrick wrote. Then he continued his rant, incredulous.
“I just thought I would take the time to tell this person/family that you are very welcome from all of us hard-working/ struggling to buy food Americans that have to foot the bill for your fancy steak feast… “
Patrick continued: “…while I skip breakfast and lunch every day so my wife and children have food to eat …because $50-$75 doesn’t go very far.”
He ends his post with a snarky comment, “So you enjoy your $800 free grocery purchase.” Needless to say, some Facebook users were as outraged as he was.
Voices Of Dissent
Most comments were positive, with many people saying that they had witnessed similar things, but some Facebook users criticized Patrick for his post, saying that he shouldn’t judge a stranger on just what he’s seen.
One person commented: “Do you really know their back story?” and added that maybe the new car had been a gift. But Patrick’s retaliation provided an insight as to why he had felt like an injustice had occurred in Walmart that day.
“Do you really know their back story? Don’t be quick to judge someone ’cause you’re angry. How do you know if that person works and their spouse doesn’t work because of problems?”
“…That all the money in their pocket is to pay their bills and that the new car was a gift? How do you know that’s not the case?” someone criticized. But Patrick had the perfect reply.
Abusing The System
Patrick wasn’t about to take that. He knew what he had seen, and he stood by what he’d said. “Let’s just call it what it is,” he replied. “We can all sit around and believe in sunshine and rainbows, saying the old, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover stuff.”
“But the reality of it is that so many people are abusing the system that was put in place for struggling families.” Indeed, Patrick’s retort made some pretty good points…
Of course, then again, there were people who were even less supportive of what Patrick had to say. One woman decided to get personal and got a bit feisty with her comments, saying that Patrick had been “creepy” for taking pictures of someone else’s grocery cart.
She also said that, for all he knows, that car doesn’t belong to the shopper, and maybe they have nine kids. Alas, we have no way of really knowing what the situation really is. But Patrick had another comeback.
“Well, the odds of that being the case in this situation, much like many other situations with food stamps, are almost as likely as me being approved for some government assistance because we are struggling…” Patrick replied.
“…oh, wait, I forgot. We already got denied, so I’m pretty sure the chick isn’t dying, and no one gave her a free car. I am sure that hard-working people such as myself are giving her a free life, though.” So, what is the real reason for Patrick’s outrage?
His rage stems from the fact that he and his family were denied assistance by the state when they needed it most. Patrick protects and serves all Americans, and yet he does not qualify to go on food stamps. It boggles the mind.
And now, he was famous for speaking out. But how did he feel about the sudden notoriety on Facebook?
Fifteen Minutes Of Fame
On a brighter note, after Patrick’s Facebook post began to make the rounds, he seemed excited that it had gone viral. In this screenshot taken from Facebook, we’re given an insight into his state of mind as it was happening in real-time.
Most people don’t get to experience feedback like this, so it must’ve been refreshing for Patrick to have his special moment. After all, he had been through, it was probably invigorating to have so many people supporting him. But why did the post gain so much traction?
It’s not surprising that Patrick’s post has attracted a huge amount of attention. It has garnered over 100,000 shares and hundreds of comments on Facebook.
There are many arguments both for and against his opinion of the couple, who didn’t look like they needed government assistance. One particular post about Patrick’s experience raises an interesting point.
A Controversial Issue
“My point is a picture paints a thousand words, and your version is highly biased. No one needs to thank you or anyone else for working for their grocery bill when the fact is that a majority of families participating in the program are working families struggling to make ends meet just as you are,” one man wrote.
The issue of who should and does qualify for financial assistance continues to be a sensitive topic. But what if it’s a flawed system?
Do What Is Right
Regardless, it’s never okay to take advantage of a welfare system that is set in place for struggling families.
Not only does Patrick put his life, his time, and his energy on the line for America – but as a result, he has a lot less time at home to build himself a proper career.
If there’s something that we can identify with in Patrick’s story, it’s the fact that sometimes things are just unfair in this world. And quite often, there’s not much we can do about it — it’s just out of our control.
It’s not easy to run a government, but that doesn’t mean people are supposed just to sit idly by while they feel that they’ve been treated unfairly. It’s always important to stand up for your rights. But the thing is, the couple couldn’t defend or explain themselves until now.
Because Patrick’s story went so wildly viral, the couple who had offended him saw it online and took to Reddit – a completely anonymous social media platform – to defend themselves.
Now, we finally get to hear their side of the story. Whether people think they were in the wrong or not, everyone can now judge for themselves.
The Other Side Of The Story
The 2020 Reddit post is titled “S***w You, Patrick Gibson,” and begins like this: “So, Patrick Gibson, this one’s for you…”
“Let me start by saying that my use of the EBT program for 11 months is not a hand-out. This is a social service that I paid into and do not feel guilty about using for a short period when there was no other way.”
“Not A Handout”
The lengthy, retaliatory post on Reddit continues, and it explains exactly why Patrick had no right to level judgment just because he saw a man and his wife using an electronic benefits card to buy groceries.
“For more than 30 years, I worked, paid taxes, struggled financially, and did without often,” the anonymous woman continued.
“I paid my taxes so that you could attend public schools, drive on public streets, play at public parks, and be protected by police, firefighters, and our military. For years YOU benefitted from all of MY hard work and taxes. So… You’re Welcome!”
The post continues: “You don’t approve of my purchase because you think people who struggle don’t deserve what you consider a luxury?”
She Doesn’t “Owe” Him An Explanation
When you consider the actual story about the couple’s purchases, it becomes clear that Patrick may have been out of line.
“Not that I owe you an explanation,” the angry woman’s post continued, “but the 2 carts of groceries you disapprove of are for 4 people for 2 months. And that steak I “scammed” the system out of?”
Out Of Line?
The post proceeds to give some more background about the steak that had angered Patrick so much because it was a “luxury.”
“Well, we have been out of work for many months… all of our reserves were spent… we’ve cut every expense possible… but our son’s birthday was in a couple of days, and we didn’t have a spare dollar to buy him even the cheapest gift.”
It turns out that that steak is their son’s favorite meal, and it had been a special treat for his birthday: “So, yes, I bought a small steak,” the woman explains. “It was his entire birthday, so go ahead and shoot me.”
If Patrick was reading this post, he probably would have felt some shame right about now. But what about the wad of cash Patrick had seen? Did she have an explanation?
What About The Wad Of Cash?
This post just goes to show that maybe people should think twice about blasting strangers on the internet before they know the whole story.
“All that cash you saw?” the woman continued, “Why couldn’t we pay cash for our food? That cash was RENT money. Are you angry that we actually use cash to pay our rent? Should we get evicted in order for you to feel that we are poor enough to warrant “your” help?”
Okay… What About The Car?
The woman also had an explanation for the expensive car that Patrick had seen the couple loading their groceries into – specifically, the “brand-new” Hyundai Genesis.
“As for that “new car,” you think I own?” the woman retorted, “Nope, guess again.” At this point, it’s really starting to look like Patrick didn’t have a leg to stand on.
It Didn’t Belong To Them
“My 9-year-old van is in the driveway in need of repair that we cannot afford right now” the Reddit post continues.
“My very generous neighbor allowed us to do our shopping in their car, another reason we bought so much at one time. It may be a long time before we would be able to go out shopping again.”
“Basically, what I’m saying… You don’t know me. You don’t know my story. You haven’t walked in my shoes. But you want to judge me?? F–you!”
“Here’s another thought, Patrick… as a member of the military, your paycheck is funded by MY taxes. You have a job because of ME. You’re Welcome!” Unfortunately, there is only one comment on the long Reddit post – it was posted on a subReddit called “Off My Chest.”
Only One Response
“Anyway, maybe Patrick and his stay-at-home wife should stop having kids if he literally has to skip meals to feed them,” the Redditor sniped in response to the story and the man’s retaliatory post.
The user continued: “He should also apply for EBT benefits since it’s so easy to eat steak and lobster on the government’s dime.”
Sadly, we live in a digital world where shaming people online is common and ‘cancel culture’ is the norm. It’s almost impossible to scroll through our social media feeds and not see a post about “rude” people.
Or, like a recent video that went viral, an angry “Karen” refusing to wear a mask. With such easy access to cameraphones, it’s very tempting to snap a picture of whatever or whoever has irked you that day. But should we do it?
While it may feel good to name whoever you feel has wronged you in some way, there are reasons why everyone should resist the urge.
Firstly, online ‘naming and shaming’ and cancel culture can have a huge impact on a person or business’ reputation and career – especially when the ‘shaming’ isn’t warranted and only one side of a story is presented on social media.
Don’t Do it
While public shaming isn’t a new concept, the digital age has taken this behavior to a whole new level. Public shaming also includes doxing – which is sharing someone’s private information without their consent.
So, while it may be tempting to shame someone online in the heat of the moment, nobody should be doing it. Not just because it can cause damage to the person being shamed but because posts can and do go viral, and you – like Patrick – may end up being the one with egg on your face.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.