We were running late tonight, so the whole family -- me, Marion and the kids, went to McDonald's on Bronson. We were halfway through our meal when seem gangsta-type teens began a ruckus. One little shit started punching a girl in the face, quicly splitting her lip.
I got out of my seat and yelled at them to stop. The group -- half a dozen black boys, including the hitter, and three black girls, moved toward a door. The little shit kept taking swings at her. I went toward them and kept telling the kid to stop. His friends thought the whole thing was funny. One took pictures with a cell phone.
The manager, a kid in his early twenties, tried to get the teenagers to leave. Once in a while, the little hitter took another swing at the girl. I told him to keep his hands to himself and yelld for someone to call the cops. No one did.
A rather large fellow who I mentally tagged "Fat Albert" told me to shut up and not get involved. Many people know that's something that I'm rarely inclined to do. I said I'd talk if I wanted to. He said he and his friends would be waiting for me outside. Then they left.
The rest of the meal was rather tense. Ian, my seven-year-old, was, as usual, all questions. My 12-year-old daughter was scared. My wife was pretty calm.
I figure, even on the edge of 50, I can still handle myself. I grew up in a part of the Ontario countryside where brawling was normal, and I was a provincial-level fencer in high school, but it's been more than thirty years since I've had to protect myself or use parrying moves. Just before I left, I bought one of McDonald's notoriously hot coffees and planted my car key in my fingers. But, as I expectewd, Fat Albert, his piece-of-shit friend and the rest of them weren't outside. We got in the van and went home.
When I was a teenager, I knew some really bad kids. I knew guys who would punch you for looking at them the wrong way. But they -- at least in public, I suppose -- didn't punch girls. Their friends wouldn't have stood around laughing and taking pictures. People in restaurants wouldn't have sat, skulking, and the staff would have called the cops.
But that was then and this is now.