Open Letter to a Fellow New Yorker Who Hoped I’d Get Hit By a Car
While New York State certainly has many outstanding DMV branches and employees, I had an experience yesterday that rocked me to my core.
To the man who told me he wished I'd get hit by a car, I hope you realize the gravity of those words. I hope you understand the cruelty behind what you said. We live in a world, in a country, with so much hatred and opposition being thrown in our faces and on social media; you don't need to add to that kind of rhetoric.
You weren't even part of the conversation. I was at the DMV dropping off some paperwork, and while face coverings in public have been required in New York for months by Governor Cuomo's executive order, none of the employees I saw were wearing one. They were interacting with customers and not maintaining any semblance of social distancing.
I didn't want to make a scene. On my way out, I pulled an employee aside and, as politely as I could, asked why none of the employees were wearing masks. The man said all of the employees had health issues (yes, all of them), and another employee quickly jumped in to say that since masks were required only through an executive order and not a law, they didn't have to wear them. He also said there is more of a chance of being struck by lightning than being asymptomatic, which is an unfounded argument given that, as of last month, WHO did not know the exact percentage of the population that carried COVID-19 without symptoms.
That's when you jumped in. You weren't an employee. You were outside, wearing your mask as a chin strap, waiting for someone who was inside the DMV. As I turned to walk back to my car, you shouted after me:
"I hope she gets hit by a car on her way out."
The hair on my arms stood up, I could feel myself start to tremble in fear, and I heard the two DMV workers laugh.
As I walked through the parking lot to my car, I played what you said in my head over and over and over.
I hope she gets hit by a car on her way out. I hope she gets hit by a car on her way out. I hope she gets hit by a car on her way out. I hope she gets hit by a car on her way out.
I was half expecting a car to come out of nowhere and actually hit me.
I know that masks, just pieces of cloth, have become political over the last few months, but I don't understand why. I don't understand why my inquiring about masks would justify wishing that I would be seriously hurt or even killed. People can die from being hit by a vehicle. They can suffer severe, life-altering injuries. Families mourn.
Why would you wish that on someone? Why would you laugh?
We need more kindness in the world. We need more understanding and the ability to have constructive conversations. Next time, please think before you speak.