Not all heroes wear capes - some wear tracksuits.
I discovered this the other night when my friend was humiliated by a rude dude while she was trying to get involved in a game of badminton.
I dropped into the Cameron recreation centre after work to watch my friend play. She’s been playing her entire life and is really good, but normally joins in with the crowd at the Edmonds centre.
Burnaby has drop-in times for the sport. Some come together as groups, while others are singles who join in on games.
Some of the groups are a little cliquey, but my friend says they are generally polite about letting people join in or declining.
Not on this night, unfortunately.
There were three guys and she offered to play a game with them to see if they could make it work. The rude dude (of course it’s a dude – it’s always a dude), however, was having none of it. Instead of just politely declining, he made a big show in front of about a dozen people about how there was no way my friend could keep up with their skill level. I'm sure her being a woman had absolutely nothing to do with it.
We all know dudes like this. Anyone who has ever played on an office softball team knows that one blowhard who shows up wearing eye black and trying to signal all the batters to bunt. Some people just take this stuff too seriously. Dude, you’re not trying to qualify for the Olympics – it’s drop-in badminton.
He had this snide grin on his face as he embarrassed my friend, for whom English is a second language.
She put on a brave face and walked away (I was going to say something, but she told me to ignore it). There was a city parks and rec staffer helping others group up, but he wasn’t near where all of this happened. As my friend approached the door, he asked if she had found a game.
She shared her story and said she would go back to Edmonds.
The staffer could have just shrugged and moved on, but he walked us out into the lobby. He made sure my friend received not only a refund, but a one-day pass for a future session. He also personally apologized, even though it wasn’t his fault. He said he would address the group.
My friend was stunned. Her spirits lifted and that’s all she talked about for the rest of the evening – instead of fuming about the rude dude.
I just wanted to share how showing some compassion and effort can make a huge difference for people. So my eternal thanks to that staff member.
You did good.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.