Be sure to check the special note at the bottom of this story.
“I just needed to get some groceries. Dart in, dart out, done. Then I saw this guy and his cute little kid asking him for an apple. He responded in a language strange to me. That and his brown skin made me think he was Arab and likely Muslim. That made me think God wanted me to talk to him. But here I was, wearing a flag t shirt and carrying. All I needed was a dip of snuff in my lip and I was the classic American.”
“I struck a quick deal with God: If the guy was still there on my way out, I’d talk to him. I grabbed my stuff, headed back to the front of the store and, dang, how long does it take to pick out produce?!?”
“Excuse me, I heard you speaking a different language, do you mind me asking where you’re from?” He seemed a little hesitant, but said, “Jordan.”
“No way! I know someone who’s been there. Do you mind me asking how you’d say ‘hello’ in Arabic? (Even though I knew the answer!)”
“He said, ‘Merhaba.’ I asked about a couple other words. He asked how long I’d been in Phoenix. We talked for just two minutes, then I used the word he told me for ‘goodbye’ and left.”
“Why did I do this? I wanted him to know that not all American guys are jerks who think all Muslims are jerks. And I wanted people in the store to see that conversations like this can take place”
“Would I do it again? I can talk to anyone. I’m good at it. But, dang, this was big time uncomfortable. My first thought is that I did it and can check it off! But yeah, I probably will do it again.”
I’m super proud to share my son’s story to mark the 100th edition of Muslim Connect. And I’m hugely grateful to you for reading. Thank you for helping us reach this milestone. To celebrate and demonstrate that gratefulness, I have a $50 Amazon gift card to award one reader who shares this story on Facebook, posts it on Instagram, forwards it to a friend or just writes me and asks to be entered! Let me know what you did and I’ll put you in the contest. The winner will be chosen at random on Dec. 26th.