The People Pro® Blog

Confronting Bullying Behavior

By Barbara Bartlein

While enjoying a "heavy metal" concert at a local bar in Cudahy, I had a confrontation with a bully.  I'm not usually at local bars and I never listen to heavy metal, but a friend of mine is in the band.  Only 18 years old, he just released his first CD and was celibrating the band's success.  

The band encountered some technical difficulties while setting up and you could tell that the audience was getting impatient.  But it was a mellow group of young people who were enjoying the music. We were having a great time looking at the customers with metal makeup and outfits. 

Then a large man, over 400 pounds, got up and walked to the middle of the room and started yelling at the band.  "Hurry up.  What is taking so long?"  "This is not acceptable."  "Get going."  The rest of the room went quiet as he continued his tirade towards the band.  The band quickly fired up the music and he sat down.

After the band finished an outstanding set, we gathered our belongings to leave.  I thought about what that man did and decided to say something.  As I walked past him at the bar, I leaned in and said, "You know they are just kids?"  

He looked shocked that I spoke to him, and said, "Well, they took too much time to set up."

"Well, I think you were out of line," I said calmly.

"I don't.  They took to long," he said.

"Well, I think you were out of line.  In fact, I think you are a bully, " I said.

You would have thought I slapped him on the face.  I don't think anyone ever stood up to him for his poor behavior, perhaps because of his size.  I could tell by the look on his face that he was surprised that I stood up to him.  As I left, I thought maybe, just maybe, having an "old" woman say this to him might lead him to reflect on his behavior in the future. 

I know it is a small incident.  There are many inconsiderate people in the world, and I, by no means, claim I handle manners and kindness perfectly. But I try.  And if we all confronted the meanspirited behavior around us, the world would be a kinder place.

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