Alex Wetzel walked into a grocery store, when he was given cause to pause by a boy, who asked him “Are you a looter?” In an Instagram post, he detailed what happened next, which is nothing short of a wholesome learning moment for us all.

At first, Alex was angry…

“I was walking into the local grocery store when one of these kids looked at me and straight up asked, ‘Are you a looter?’ He proceeded to ask me if I like looting,” Alex recounted in a Facebook post. “I politely said, ‘No, looting isn’t cool,’ and walked inside.”

Alex was “absolutely boiling” as he continued on his way. But then, he overheard something that cheered him up a little. One of the kids in the group reprimanded his friend over the insulting comments.

Before the door closed I heard his friends yelling at him asking him why he would say that..made me feel a little better.

Alex Wetzel

When Alex walked out of the store, he saw the same group of kids but the one who had made the offensive comments was not there anymore.

“His friends apologized. I said it wasn’t their fault and continued on my way,” Alex continued.

A conversation over popsicles

Alex was walking away when he heard something that gave him pause again. He decided that there was his chance to make an impact on these kids.

As I was walking away I heard one of them say, ‘Man, the ice cream melted!’ I could’ve kept walking, but I thought about it for a second. I decided this could be a moment of learning for them, so I turned around, walked back into the store, and bought them a pack of popsicles.

Alex Wetzel

When he came back out, the boy who had made the looting comments was there but he apologized too. “I walked back out and all of them were back,” Alex said. “The one who tried to offend me was there, and he said he was sorry.”

Alex could see where they were coming from, never forgetting that they were kids. So he handed them the popsicles and also a few words of wisdom.

“I said, ‘Hey, look I get it that you guys were trying to be funny and cool, but in this moment in time, as you guys are growing to be young men, you really need to realize the massive changes this world is going through,” he told them.

I continued, ‘But here’s some popsicles, I know it’s hot out. Before you take these, I want you to remember the next time you think you’re funny for poking fun of someone’s race, you remember me. I hope I showed you today that everyone is the same, regardless of color.’

Alex Wetzel

Hatred can be unlearned

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“I was walking into the local grocery store when one of these kids looked at me and asked, ‘Are you a looter?’ He proceeded to ask me if I like looting. I politely said, ‘No, looting isn’t cool,’ and walked inside. Inside, I was absolutely boiling, but before the door closed, I heard his friends yelling at him, asking him why he would say that. It made me feel a little better. I finished my business in the store and went to hop over to another store. They were still outside, but the one who asked me the ridiculous question wasn’t there and his friends apologized. I said it wasn’t their fault and continued on my way. As I was walking away I heard one of them say, ‘Man, the ice cream melted!’ I could’ve kept walking, but I thought about it for a second. I decided this could be a moment of learning for them, so I turned around, walked back into the store, and bought them a pack of popsicles. I walked back out and all of them were back. The one who tried to offend me was there, and he said he was sorry. I said, ‘Hey, look. I get it that you guys were trying to be funny and cool, but in this moment in time, as you guys are growing to be young men, you really need to realize the massive changes this world is going through. And you’re lucky I was the guy you tried to offend rather than someone else who wouldn’t take that type of offense so lightheartedly.’ I continued, ‘But here’s some popsicles, I know it’s hot out. Before you take these, I want you to remember the next time you think you’re funny for poking fun of someone’s race, you remember me. I hope I showed you today that everyone is the same, regardless of color.’ I’ve never met these boys before and I have no clue what kind of background they come from. But I do not blame the children for their actions. In fact, what breaks my heart more than anything is that these behaviors are taught. Ignorance begets ignorance. Right now, this is a huge time for literally the ENTIRE WORLD to start recognizing and changing how they view others.” #LoveWhatMatters #Kindness #OneLove #ComeTogether #BlackLivesMatter #Unity #Compassion Credit: Alex Wetzel

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Alex mentions that he has “no ill will in sharing this story.” Instead, he hoped that it would be a reminder that as much as hatred can be taught, it can also be unlearned.

“I’ve never met these boys before and I have no clue what kind of background they come from,” Alex mentions, nothing that we should never assume things without full knowledge. “For all I know, their parents could have just been marching in a BLM protest.”

Most of all, Alex does not blame the kids.

I do not blame the children for their actions. In fact, what breaks my heart more than anything is that these behaviors are taught. Ignorance begets ignorance.

Alex Wetzel

His closing words: “Right now, this is a huge time for literally the ENTIRE WORLD to start recognizing and changing how they view others.”

That’s certainly something we can all apply in our day-to-day-lives.

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