A rather incredible — and wonderful — thing happened last week on a pizza line in Columbus, Ohio.
Ethan White and Joel Diaz were waiting in line at a Mikey’s Late Night Slice pizza truck. They were holding hands. One reason was because they were cold. The other reason is because they are gay.
“As a frequent late-night visitor to the truck, I knew the requisite wait in line is part of the process for securing an insanely good slice of pizza,” Diaz told the Huffington Post. “It was really cold, so Ethan and I were holding hands and standing close together to keep warm.
That’s when trouble started.
“We were laughing and joking about all the fun we’d had that night, when all of the sudden the guy in front of us turns around and tells us to cut our ‘gay (expletive)’ out.”
Many of us have been in situations when some bigoted jerk makes a racist remark or religious slur or homophobic statement. Most of us pretend we don’t hear it or we just don’t want to be confrontational, so we let it go.
Well, that’s not what happened on that pizza line in Columbus, Ohio.
“I was a bit startled by his words, but I didn’t expect what happened next,” Diaz said. “Almost every single person in that line made it known to him it was not OK for him to speak to us like that.”
But the idiot continued his homophobic rant “about being disgusted by us,” Diaz said. “We both let him know that this was our city, too, and that we were not about to stand down to his bigoted ideas. As he continued, it was actually the straight people in line who spoke up that were so awesome.”
When the bigot kept arguing, an extraordinary thing happened.
“The guys who work the truck stopped what they were doing and leaned toward the window and told him they would not serve him because he was spewing hate,” Diaz said. “They said they support everyone in our community and that he should get out of line because they would not be serving him.”
The guy and a friend left … without any pizza.
After Diaz posted his account of the incident on Facebook, it went viral. As for the Mikey’s Late Night Slice company, there was this heartwarming statement.
“We can’t tell you how proud we are of our truck workers that night for speaking up and doing the right thing.”
Diaz said the incident gave him hope that hate could be “a thing of the past.”
It can be, if every time we encounter intolerance, we speak up instead of connoting acquiescence by staying silent.