It’s okay for everyone’s light to shine

By AMANDA SEXTON FERGUSON,

A lady dining at a family-owned restaurant posts a complaint on social media about her order being wrong, but she doesn’t report the error to the restaurant’s management.

A citizen, who came home to find something was stolen from their residence, lashes out on Facebook at law enforcement for not doing their jobs before officers even know that a crime had been committed.

An employee at a neighborhood retailer wasn’t friendly enough for a customer’s liking, prompting that customer to post a rant berating the employee on everything from her physical appearance to her IQ level.  The manager of the store learned of the incident on social media.

The wait was too long at a doctor’s office.  The line was too long at the grocery store.  A sales clerk did not help a customer soon enough.  My coffee was too hot.  The price was too expensive.  And on and on and on.

These are merely examples I’ve made up, but I have seen real posts very similar to the examples above, and in most cases, the complaint was only shared on social media, not with anyone who had the power to remedy the problem.  No one contacted the manager.  No one contacted the police.  No one contacted the store owner.  Yet they shot every tiny detail of their bad shopping experience, bad meal, bad service, or injustice out on their news feed.

Trust me, I’m not immune to a hardy dose of criticism – in person, by letter or email, and oh, yes, on social media.  Trust me, I am far from perfect, and when a small staff produces 50,000 to 75,000 words per newspaper each week, mistakes happen – no matter how many times it is proofed by the staff. 

The newspaper staff takes our licks and moves on to the next edition, but some of the more hateful posts are hard to swallow.

I’m disheartened by people who post to hurt – hurt an individual, hurt a business, or simply hurt morale.

I think I am suffering from “social media malady,” a condition caused by those who find courage behind a keyboard to post hateful things about other people, businesses, and anyone they feel may have “wronged” them in some way.  This condition is exacerbated by people waiting to pick a fight, spew vitriol, and rob innocent people of their joy through their comments.

They are both equally hurtful -- the hateful poster or the egg-it-oner.

Funny thing is that most of these people don’t have the nerve to share their opinions face to face, but give them a keyboard, and they get gumption.  And the egg-it-oners, they are there to incite the crowd. 

I guess I’m perplexed by someone who would like to criticize strangers on the computer, or worst of all people they know and see every day. 

I feel these hateful posters and egg-it-oners should take a moment and think about the people they are posting about.  Maybe the waitress who confused the order is battling a serious medical condition or going through a personal tragedy.  Maybe the cashier, who was degraded for not being friendly enough, suffers from chronic pain or postpartum depression or recently lost a loved one.

It hurts most to see people attack someone or a business in this very community.  That waitress who confused your order is a single mom living just down the street.  That family-owned business in our small community is a treasure that has served the people here for generations. Those police officers you tear down may one day save your life.

There are people behind every slam, every jab, every put-down.  People just like you, and just like me – people simply trying to keep out of the ditch as they deal with their own realities and problems and all that life throws at them.

I read a quote somewhere that said, “Don’t unscrew someone else’s light bulb to make yours shine brighter.”

That funny post with 200 likes and 100 comments may feel like a victory to the poster.  However, it might make someone else feel heartbroken.

It isn’t hard to be kind.  It isn’t hard to bite your tongue.  It isn’t hard to not click “post.”

Obituaries

Joe Terrell Tenhet, 58, of Memphis, Tenn., passed away Friday, October 4, 2019, at Methodist... READ MORE