My wife, who works part time at a Robin’s Donuts, recently told me an interesting story: A customer was sitting in her car, waiting to be served in the drive-through line. She began complaining to herself, using a lot of F-words. Apparently, she felt the line was moving too slow. However, she did not realize that the Robin’s staff could hear her foul language through the outside microphone.
One of the staff members told the customer through the outside loudspeaker to refrain from using such language because it could be heard inside the store. Surprised and embarrassed, the customer said she was sorry. However, when she got to the service window she was angry.
“I’m not going to be corrected by the Robin’s girl! F— you!” she said and then drove away.
The staff member, who was the target of this tirade, turned around to her coworkers and said, “What a f—ing b—ch! I’m not going to have anyone swear in my line!”
Now, maybe I’m just an overly sensitive conservative Catholic, but I find this whole episode disturbing. There is so much sin involved in this exchange, it’s hard to know where to start. Aside, from the obvious use of obscene language (by women, no less), sinful pride and hypocrisy are revealed.
The customer, when she thought no one was listening, felt comfortable using obscene language. (How often do we swear at people in our thoughts? How often do we sin when we think no one is watching?) The customer initially apologized because she was caught off guard and was embarrassed. However, as she waited in line with her injured pride, she became angry and wanted revenge.
When she got to the window, she revealed her prideful spirit: “I’m not going to be corrected by the Robin’s Girl…” That disdain and contempt for someone she thinks is below her is, in my opinion, worse than the foul language she used. However, note that the Robin’s girl uses hateful, foul language herself and then, hypocritically, says she doesn’t want anyone swearing in “her” line (revealing a prideful heart).
I believe that foul language isn’t nearly as bad as the contemptuous, angry and hateful spirit that it usually reveals. I worked for many years in a religious environment in which obscene language wasn’t allowed; however, some of the employees used other words and means to express the sinful condition of their hearts.
When I think about episodes like the one above, I imagine how innocent and relatively sinless these two women were when they were very young children. What a shame that so many adults allow sin to so dominate their hearts. No wonder our Lord said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt. 18:3).