Cualquier Cosa Menos Normal
Al despertarse esa mañana, no sabía qué iba a pasar en el supermercado.
Mientras imaginaba que las cosas eran normales, le invadió una rabia como nunca antes había experimentado.
El espectáculo que vio le conmocionó. Su ofensa se basaba puramente en principios. Iban a pagar por sus actos.
Una Experiencia Nueva
Ni siquiera fueron las rabietas de los niños lo que le hizo ponerse colorado en un supermercado.
Normalmente, compraba todos los días, pero ésta era una experiencia nueva.
La rabia dentro de él estaba al rojo vivo. Sentía como si le atacaran personalmente. Este tipo de comportamiento no sería tolerado por él.
Un sencillo carrito de la compra le hizo perder la calma.
Lo habría pasado por alto, porque la mayoría de la gente no ve el verdadero problema.
La rabia volvió a apoderarse de él cuando volvió a mirar dentro del carrito. Era demasiado tentador para él volcarlo. Para evitarlo, haría todo lo que estuviera en su mano.
Veterano De Guerra
Como la mayoría de la gente, Patrick Gibson tenía sus propios rasgos. Su familia era muy importante para él y la quería mucho.
Sin embargo, estaba claramente un paso por encima de la mayoría de los demás en un aspecto crucial.
No era ningún secreto que era un veterano condecorado que se había desplegado en innumerables ocasiones. Como sabía lo que le esperaba en casa, nunca se echaba atrás ante un desafío.
Un Hombre De Familia
Había una razón que siempre le llevaba a casa: su familia. Sólo ellos le mantenían con vida.
En el proceso, pasó de ser un militar a un hombre de familia.
Prometió no dejar nunca que su familia sufriera ningún daño. Todos los días daba gracias a Dios por haberle dado una familia que le quería. Hubo otros que no tuvieron la misma suerte.
Cuando Patrick regresaba de un largo despliegue, había una cosa que esperaba con ilusión.
Whitney era su amada esposa, y tenían dos hermosos hijos, un niño y una niña. Se creía el hombre más afortunado del mundo.
Sin embargo, las cosas no siempre serían fáciles para Patrick y su familia, ya que la economía empeoró.
Debido a la condición de ama de casa de Whitney y a que Patrick era el único con ingresos, últimamente habían experimentado algunas dificultades económicas.
Para él era importante dar prioridad a su familia por encima de todo, incluso de sí mismo.
Para él no era un problema si tenía que reducir sus propias comidas para asegurarse de que estaban bien alimentados.
Un Paso Adelante
Tener que reducir sus raciones para ayudar a los demás no era su primera vez.
Cuando surgían problemas inesperados en algunas misiones, era el primero en ofrecer ayuda.
Valoraba más a su familia que incluso a sus camaradas más leales, así que al menos comerían si él se saltaba comidas por ellos.
Mucho En Su Plato
La comida no era la única preocupación. Su fianza, los pañales para los niños y la gasolina para el coche eran algunos de los otros gastos que tenían.
Aunque él pasaba hambre, su familia no.
Sin embargo, tendría que idear un plan a largo plazo para resolver sus problemas financieros.
El poco dinero que le quedaba a Patrick le obligó a ser creativo.
El hombre fue al supermercado para ver si había alguna oferta especial que pudiera aprovechar.
En medio de sus compras, se dio cuenta de que podía comprarle un capricho a su familia con todos los ahorros que tenía. Lo siguiente que vio sería exasperante.
Walmart estaba lleno ese día, así que no quiso estar allí más tiempo del necesario.
Los niños gemían mientras sus cansadas madres los empujaban con desgana, y la gente maleducada le pisaba los talones a Patrick con sus carritos de la compra. Era hora de salir de allí.
Empujó su escasa cantidad de comestibles hasta la cola de la caja y esperó a ser atendido, nunca esta pequeña acción arruinaría por completo su día.
Mientras la fila de compradores avanzaba lentamente, Patrick observó con nostalgia que los dos carritos que tenía delante estaban repletos.
No podía creer los artículos gourmet que veía.
Vio filetes frescos, mantequilla, beicon, queso, gambas, langosta… todos los artículos de lujo que podía imaginar estaban apilados a rebosar en los dos carritos.
Los comestibles de la pareja estaban empaquetados y totalizados, y no fue sorprendente cuando la cifra que parpadeó en la pantalla fue la alucinante cantidad de 800 dólares.
Cuando el hombre sacó la cartera para pagar y la abrió, Patrick se quedó boquiabierto.
Apartó un fajo de billetes de 100 dólares y buscó una tarjeta EBT.
Una tarjeta EBT, o tarjeta electrónica de prestaciones para los que no lo sepan, es un sistema electrónico de cupones de alimentos que permite a los departamentos estatales de asistencia social emitir prestaciones a través de una tarjeta de pago.
Esto era lo que tanto había provocado al militar.
Aquí estaba él, luchando mientras esta gente abusaba de los cupones de alimentos.
Visto Lo Visto
Y esto es lo que el hombre estaba usando para pagar todos sus artículos de lujo.
Patrick ya había visto suficiente y sacó enfadado su teléfono.
Quería asegurarse de que los responsables entendieran lo que estaban haciendo. Sólo esperaba que más gente atendiera a razones.
No Los Necesitaba
Aunque no estaba mal que la pareja utilizara una tarjeta EBT, Patrick estaba enfadado porque ellos mismos podían arreglárselas para pagar la compra.
La injusticia le carcomía mientras observaba. ¿Cómo podía ser justo? Fue entonces cuando decidió hacer lo impensable.
No podía evitar enfadarse; era su naturaleza.
Patrick estaba furioso, pero se mordió la lengua y sacó una foto.
Pero espera, tal vez se precipitó al juzgar, pensó, conteniendo su furia.
Después de todo, no podía saber cuál era la situación de la pareja. Pero lo que vio a continuación en el aparcamiento del Walmart estaba a punto de ser la gota que colmó el vaso.
Incomodar A Los Demás
Los dos no sólo estaban usando descaradamente los EDT cuando claramente estaban abusando del sistema.
También incomodaban a todas las demás personas que estaban detrás de ellos en la cola.
Con tantos artículos, tuvieron que empezar a desviar la cola a otras cajas que se abrieron debido a la situación. Esto fue masivamente egoísta por su parte.
Afortunadamente, Patrick fue uno de los clientes de la cola que fue desviado a otra caja.
Pagó rápidamente sus escasos productos mientras observaba a los dos que seguían mirando su selección gourmet.
Pensó que ahí acabaría todo. Pero no sabía que volvería a cruzarse con ellos. Esta vez sería exasperante.
Cargando Su Botín
Incluso después de que la pareja saliera de la tienda de comestibles, todavía tardaron algún tiempo en cargar la enorme cantidad de botín en la parte trasera de su coche.
Esto significaba que Patrick estaba a punto de cruzarse con ellos mientras cargaba también sus cosas en el coche.
Se cruzó con ellos en el aparcamiento y sintió que la sangre empezaba a hervirle de nuevo. Quiso apartarse de la situación, pero ya era demasiado tarde.
Glancing to his right, he saw them again. This was a big mistake because he looked at the wrong time.
What he saw made him even angrier than he was before.
He could tell just by looking at them that they didn’t need the food stamps. They were definitely loaded.
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.
He was about to calm down when he noticed yet another unacceptable detail about the two.
Patrick knew a confrontation probably wasn’t the best idea, so he decided to keep his head down.
He turned to his car and closed his boot, but then curiosity got the better of him.
He decided to have one final glance as the two closed their trunk. That’s when he saw the badge of the car they were driving. It was just too much.
The couple who had bought $800 worth of groceries were loading their loot into a brand-new Hyundai Genesis.
To anyone who didn’t know cars, maybe this wouldn’t have been a big deal.
But it was a big deal to Patrick. He narrowed his eyes and pulled out his phone. He wanted to make sure he was right about his suspicions.
Worth More Than This Car
The Hyundai Genesis, according to a website Patrick checked, sells from between $15,000 to $20,000 more than his own family’s car.
It was ludicrous to think that these people really needed the food stamps.
How had they possibly managed to afford a car like this while they were on welfare? They had made a big mistake.
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.
They wouldn’t get away with this when he was around. He would make sure they would never do this again.
He began his rant on Facebook with: “Sorry, but I had to vent.
The picture you see on the left is the number of groceries, including diapers, that I was able to afford during this pay period for my family…”
It started out as a regular post, but it was soon going to shed light on the unfairness that was going on in the world.
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.”
The post showed the $800 of grocery items on display. That would have been normal, 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.
Brand New Hyundai
So far, it seemed as if the post was nothing but a rant about rich people.
But he was about to drop the bombshell.
“…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 debit 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 dollars 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.
The community seemed to understand the pain that he was going through.
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.
More people chimed in, being contrarian and telling him maybe he judged them too harshly.
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 to just 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 handout.
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 two carts of groceries you disapprove of are for four people for two 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 camera phones, 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.