“This story was told to me by my dad, so this is all secondhand and some details may be missing. Background: My dad is Hispanic and looks it: dark skin, brown eyes, and a mustache. He also takes pride in his appearance and he looks like a refined cowboy when he dresses up: Straw hat, neatly pressed button-up shirt, black jeans, and spit-shined boots. He’s very social and his work is his second family, so if there is a party, a convention or any other kind of get-together, he will be there!
Storytime: Pre-quarantine, my dad and his coworkers had checked into their hotel and decided to go to the lobby, which had a taco bar set up for the guests. It had discounted margs, a live mariachi band for entertainment, and ‘unlimited’ food, so it was perfect for my dad and his buddies to have dinner and relax after a long day.
This was an informal gathering, so my dad was wearing his cowboy getup and everyone who knew him knew who he was. He was milling around, making his rounds and making sure to shake hands and talk to everyone there.
At one point, he went in line to the taco bar to have his dinner, and how he put it, a snooty woman who called herself the manager tapped him on the shoulder and started pestering him.
K is Karen and D is my Dad.
K: ‘Excuse me, sir. This bar is only for the guests!’
D: ‘I am a guest.’
K: ‘Lemme see your key pass! This bar is for guests only, not the band members!’
(And this is where my dad started getting mad.)
D: ‘Why should I show you my key pass? Why won’t you look at my friends’ key passes?’ (He pointed to his other, fair-skinned friends and called them out) ‘Why are you picking out the Mexican in the line and not the other white guys?!’
One other thing everyone knows about my dad is that he will be nice only once, then he will get in your face if you keep pushing him. My dad tried to be polite at first, but once that stubborn Karen manager would not let it go, my dad decided to escalate the situation. Once he did not back down from this woman, she was the one who tried to apologize, but then my dad said the magic words. ‘I want to talk to your supervisor! I want to talk to him about your conduct!’
The woman’s supervisor was called, and even though the man tried to cover for her, my dad was already ticked off and was not going to go quietly! He accused the woman manager and the supervisor of being racially insensitive and kept asking why he was the only one being called out. Now, this was not the first time my father had been mistaken for a service worker and he always believed in making the accuser so uncomfortable that they will keep him in mind next time they wrongfully profile another person.
Now, he has the entire lobby and the rest of the guests listening in and most likely on his side, judging Karen and her supervisor. The supervisor was red in the face and was finding any way to de-escalate the situation. Finally, he apologized for the 50th time to my dad and asked if there was anything they could do to make this right. My dad seized this opportunity and said ‘In that case, I would like to have my dinner at this taco bar for free and I want my table to have free drinks all night.’
The supervisor was quick to jump at the chance to calm my dad down and satisfy the rest of the guests. My dad still tells this story and even though he can get up on his high horse, this time, it was warranted. My dad is and always will be the proud Hispanic cowboy who takes no bull from anyone; especially snooty Karens who runs their mouths way too much!”