About a week ago, Neighbor Joyce was assaulted on Mission Street near the intersection with Crescent. But as she tells the story, that wasn’t the terrible part:
I needed to get some items for dinner from the corner store on Wednesday night and headed up to La Loma Produce, a little Mom’n Pop shop on Mission between Crescent and Richland. I started picking out my limes, and noticed a man screaming to no one in particular at the corner, and I did my best to ignore him. Regardless, he then started walking quickly towards me, screaming.
And then, he punched me.
Scared and stunned, I yelled at him to get away from me and back off. He continued to scream at me, and I ran into the entrance of the store, continuing to yell at him to leave me alone. He kept screaming for a little bit and then finally left, heading south on Mission.
I was still scared and shocked, but my emotions quickly turned to anger. Why? Because when I was in La Loma Produce, I asked the store clerks for help, to call the police, because I had just been assaulted outside their store (and of course, neglected to bring my cell phone on what I thought would be a 30 second jaunt to the corner store).
They stared at me with blank looks and did nothing. They would not help me. The man ignored me and the woman shrugged her shoulders and said “He’s gone, what do you want?”. I repeatedly pleaded for help and they continued to do nothing but just look at each other. I finally asked, “Do you ever want me to shop here again?”, to which she handed me their phone and finally allowed me to make a call to the police. Why this made a difference, is mind-boggling.
After my 911 call, I waited outside on a bench for the police to arrive. During this time, the woman came out several times and said “they’re still not here yet?”. I found these remarks further infuriating, given their lack of compassion in the first place.
The police arrived within 10 minutes and took me to identify the suspected perpetrator. Indeed, they found the suspect. He apparently is a frequentor of the area, well-known to the police, and had also been recently cited for harassing customers at a local coffee shop. I don’t know of his fate. However, I can honestly say that I do not have any hard feelings for him as it was plainly obvious that he had mental health issues.
I do, however, have hard feelings for those clerks at La Loma Produce, who had the ability and choice to help me but wouldn’t. In fact, I find the lack of compassion very disappointing. I can entertain many reasons why they would not call the police, but to be frank, I don’t care. A society declines if we make an active choice not to help others in need, if we are void of compassion. I cannot support a community store that does not support its community. Thus, we will exercise our choice: my family will no longer be shopping at La Loma Produce, 3835 Mission between Crescent and Richland.