Today was going to be our last visit. We've had issues with this company before, but there's record breaking heat in the forecast, we have a 3-year-old, and our AC needs repair ...
This morning was set to be a beautiful day. I woke up next to my family – which is a treat because I usually get up between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. to work while Kai and Kayson sleep. It may seem small, waking up together every day, but it means a lot to me. When Kayson was in the hospital, it was all that I could see.
I prayed that one day we would be together, the three of us, snuggled tight, without a worry in sight. I prayed to God, Budda, Muhammad, anyone that would listen, to keep my family safe. When I get up, at 2 a.m. to work I do it because I remember those moments. WE (Kai and I) do it for us.
It was 6:45 a.m. by the time we bounced out of bed. We had an appointment with an AC company, whom we've used for over three years, to repair our unit. The unit that was broken again – regardless of the fact that we had followed all of their recommendations, instructions, service repairs and re-repairs due to poor performance. Our technician, Dodd, was scheduled to arrive by 7.
At 7:10 a.m. I started to think something was wrong. They've been here many times before. Perhaps they're running late. I'll wait. But, by 7:30 a.m. I decided to call. And gratefully I did, as the owner's wife said Dodd had just turned around since we were not responding.
"Not responding?" That's weird. My phone is right here.
"Well we called, and your husband gave us the wrong gate code." She said.
I assure you that's not true. I replied. We've been waiting for you. Perhaps you have the wrong number? Maybe you want to check it again.
"Sure." She said with an irritated reply. "I have XXX-XXX-XXXX ... which now, after looking at the caller Id, I see is incorrect."
OK. I replied.
And then Dodd rang the door bell.
Two worlds collide
He was a tall white guy above 6 feet, who'd been there before. I called Kai down and took Kayson from his arms as they continued to the back yard. The job was supposed to be easy, it wouldn't take more than 20-minutes to fix, but 10 minutes in I heard arguing. I grabbed Kayson and stepped outside to see Dodd yelling at Kai.
"What is your problem? You're at my house, fixing my stuff, don't talk that way in front of my wife and my son." Kai said.
Dodd said You're my fucking problem (or something along those lines).
As Kai began to reply, Dodd stood up. He picked up a piece of our AC unit and threw it against the wall, slammed our gate and left us sitting there.
Kai opened the gate and yelled,
"Hey man, you owe me an apology."
"Let him go," I said. "He's obviously crazy."
"Something's wrong with that guy. He came in with an attitude. I asked him a few questions like I always do." He replied.
As he took Kayson and we made our way upstairs. My stomach began to sink. Something didn't feel right. I tried the AC company but wasn't able to reach anyone, so I hung up and called the police.
"I would like to file a police report."
"Sure. For what?" The lady on the end replied.
An AC technician, who has been in our house and has our gate code was acting irate and just cussed my husband out. No. I don't know why? I don't even know his last name, but something is not right.
She asked me a few other questions and said she'd send a police officer by. I told Kai, who at this point is visibly upset that it's going to be OK.
About 30 minutes later the police arrive, and as we're talking the owner of the AC company, Tom arrives. He's here to fix our unit, which Dodd had disconnected. Kai gives the policeman his statement, and the two pull the owner aside.
The officer asks him what happened and the owner begins to defend "his guy." He then proceeds to explain how Dodd was justified because
"... he felt threatened."
My beautiful threats
Threatened? What? Is that really his reply? I am the one who called the police because I feared we were in the presence of a crazy guy.
How could the tables be turned so quickly? How could it be that the perpetrator was now my 5'7 black husband inside. The man who, honestly, wouldn't hurt a fly. Now this is how it starts. Dodd arrives at our house, becomes irate, slams a gate and escapes without an apology or anyone questioning his fate.
When I heard Tom offer up this defense, so many thoughts ran through my head. I thought about Emmitt Till, Trayvon Martin and so many others who through this same "I felt threatened" defense are now dead.
what do i tell my son?
When things like this happen, how are we suppose to reply? After calling the police we realized that the officer didn't even get the names of these guys. He stood there, calmly, listening in. And then when the story was finished he left us with Tom nervous and shaking.
As the mother of a beautiful chocolate boy and a brilliant chocolate man, this is my reality. It's these microagressive comments and lack of action that leave us wondering.
And after all of this I don't know what to tell my son.
"Mommy, why was that man so mean to my dad?" Kayson said.
"I don't know, honey. I don't know why he did that to dad. Eat your pancakes before they get cold. Don't be sad. We're OK. That man is not coming back. You're safe."
Shortly after this exchange Kai walked in. I hugged him. Then I walked back to my office, turned on my computer and I cried.
Please world, have mercy on my beautiful threats. I promise you. They are not the bad guys.