Good morning everyone! I have something to share with all of you that has been weighing on my heart this past week. Mostly, I try to keep this blog to light-hearted stories, recipes, nature pictures and such. I am not a fan of soap boxes or high horses. But today, I am jumping on my soap box. When I am finished, I am jumping down and have no intentions of getting into an on-line war of words with anyone. So please, if you can’t say something nice…..don’t say nothin’ at all. (Lots of wisdom in those old Walt Disney movies, don’t you think? Who can name the movie!?)
Anyway, this very unpleasant thing happened to me last week. I lost sleep. It ruined my Mother’s Day. It also made me hurt and angry. A black pastor accused me of being a disrespectful racist on social media. He didn’t use my name because he didn’t know me, he had never seen me before. I wrote the following letter intending to deliver it to his church, a letter defending myself. But, upon further consideration, I thought it would be disrespectful and rude to roll up in the church parking lot, waving around a letter and shrieking about judgment. Not cool. And, I didn’t want to get into a Facebook fight. Those always end poorly. So I decided to share it here. On my page. After reading it, you will know why my blog has been silent the last few months, I’ve been too busy to share anything. This also make me sad, but it won’t be like this forever. Thanks for following and reading and I promise the next time you hear from me, I’ll bring you a truly great Wicked Walk.
Love you, peeps!
May 20th, 2018
To whom it may concern,,
I mainly aim to address the congregation of Macedonia Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, Texas. However, this could also be addressed to everyone on Facebook. Everyone on the internet. Everyone, who at some point in their life has judged, or been judged, unfairly.
I would like to begin by introducing myself. My name is Rachel Vickers and I am from the small community of Tecula, just north of Jacksonville. I grew up on my grand-parent’s farm, under the watchful eyes of my mother and grandmother who taught me how to cook, how to speak and how to treat others with kindness and respect. I was an active youth, participating in numerous 4-H projects and camps, Vacation Bible school, and in various conservation programs. As a young adult I went over-seas on multiple trips, representing the United States as an ambassador of culture and peace to Japan, Northern Ireland and Finland. I also became a certified emergency medical technician and used these skills to join a medical mission team that served at the Hospital of Light, just north of Port Au Prince, Haiti. I am a Texas Conservation Brigade alumni, have served as Cherokee County’s Poultry Chairman, Show Secretary and am Vice-President of the Booster Club. Working with the public, I managed a feed store for 11 years, leaving that position in order to home school my daughter. I have been working the last 3 years as a caregiver for an elderly couple, looking after their needs Monday thru Friday of every week. This position allows me to take my daughter with me daily, and she completes her lessons there or at my mother’s home.
My husband was raised by a wonderful lady of color by the name of Mabel in Edwards, Mississippi. There he was taught how to shoe horses by a black gentleman, and that remains his profession to this day. In June of 2016 we sold our home of nearly ten years and purchased 90 acres of raw land between the community of Anadarko and Glenfawn. It is a black community about 30 minutes north-west of Nacogdoches. We have built a house there, made our home there and love it dearly. However, dreams come at a steep price and we took on an enormous amount of debt to make our dream come true. So, 5 months ago I applied for a part-time job as a server at the 7th Street Café in Cushing, a short 12 minute drive from our new home. I was hired on the spot and began work the next day. I still care for the elderly couple Monday through Friday, driving an hour each day to their home. I work at the Café Friday night, Saturday night and almost every Sunday, plus other nights when they are shorthanded. I average 60 hours every week, not to mention lots of driving time. Sunday, May 20th, will be my 5th day off work in the past 115 days. While trying to keep up with both jobs, I still work frequent Saturday mornings at the Feed Store I used to manage. I also take my girl to church in Rusk every Wednesday night to meet with her Girls in Action mission group, get her to piano lessons every Friday and I am the head manager of the Lookout 4-H program, which is the largest youth 4-H program in Cherokee county. In addition to managing the regular club activities I am the horse judging, hay judging and forestry coach. My husband works out-of-town quite often, which leaves me in charge of the feeding and care of all our horses, mule, cows, dogs, cats and children, each morning and evening. I say all of this, so that maybe you will have a better understanding of who I am, where I live and what my life is like on a daily basis.
Last Saturday night was the Cushing prom, and like almost every Saturday night, I was the only waitress working the bottom floor of our 2-story café. I enjoy the work, after staying inside all week with my young daughter and the couple I care for, it’s nice to get out and talk to new people, make new friends and see new faces. Sometimes I have a helper, sometimes, I don’t. Sometimes I have a helper that isn’t much help. That’s just life. Pastor John Mosley came in with his wife and several children. I say several because I don’t remember exactly how many there were. You see, at chain restaurants, like Chili’s or the Jalapeño Tree, they have a hostess. And her job is to give everyone a buzzer, seat people as soon as possible and give them their silverware and menus. 7th Street is a small, busy, locally owned café. We don’t have a hostess or buzzers and unlike chains, you never have to wait 30 minutes outside in the heat for a table. However, you may have to wait a few minutes for the waitress on duty to see you and begin waiting on you. When I am waiting tables, I try to speak to each table and to never seem like I am in a rush, although in reality, I normally am. And when interacting with people, I focus on those people. When I get to the next table, I focus on them. I want them to know they have my attention and that I care. This means everyone may have to wait a few minutes longer, but, in the end I believe this makes for better service and a better dining experience. And y’all, I may look chipper and be bouncing around like a teenager, but I am tired. I wake up tired. Sometimes, I’m so tired I can’t sleep. And this does affect how well I notice things and focus. I think anyone with my workload and life load would be tired too. Anyway, I remember grabbing the menus and silverware for the Mosley family and I saw them getting up. I thought they went to use the restroom, so I put out their silverware and menus on their table. I waited. And waited. I was about to go check on them when the waiter upstairs told me they left. I thought that was a bit odd, but I gathered up their things and went right back on to work. I tumbled into bed about midnight, not leaving the café until around 11:00 p.m.
The next morning was Sunday, Mother’s Day. I had coffee on the porch, got on my work clothes and headed back to work my Sunday shift. And when I got there, I was shocked and horrified. Overnight, 2 Facebook posts that Pastor Mosley and his wife had written about their waitress, which was me, had over 57 shares, 103 comments and had caused the poor owner to be up all night responding to texts and phone calls about his disrespectful and racist waitress. Me. They were talking about me. According to the post they waited 7 to 10 minutes and I gave some (quote) “white” people menus before them. So instead of waving to get my attention or speaking to me before they left to voice their feelings, they went straight to social media. It says in Romans 2 verse 1, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things.” This family sat and watched me in a busy restaurant for 7 to 10 minutes. They did not try to get my attention, they did not speak to me, we have never had a conversation. Yet, they were not only willing to pass judgement on my moral character and my values as a human being, they were willing to spread this judgment all over social media. And, what was even more horrifying, the comments people were making about me. That I was a horrid person. That I should lose my job. That it’s people like me that make the world a rotten place. These types of statements and many more, made by people who have never seen me, using opinions given to them by people who have never spoken to me. I may have been a little slow that night, I may have handed out menus in a different order than suited the Mosely’s, but does that make me a disrespectful, racist who deserves to be thrown to the wolves? I certainly hope not, or I think we all have a lot more than poor restaurant service to worry about. When people are on social media, it is so easy, too easy, to criticize and judge others. Often times, nameless, faceless situations and people. They post their comments and feel good that they have been heard by those on their ‘friend list’. But they are also heard by the nameless, the faceless. And I refuse to be one of those people. I have a name, it is Rachel, a name given me by my mother for the girl Jacob loved. I have a face. And yes, it’s a white face. If God hadn’t made white people and black people and brown people, what a dull world we would be living in. If the situation had been reversed, let’s say the church service at Macedonia Baptist was more crowded than normal, and the pastor didn’t have time to greet me and shake my hand after the service. And I left as soon as the service was over, not waiting to get his attention or make it a point to initiate a greeting. Would it be fair to judge him as a disrespectful, racist, because he didn’t speak to the white person? No. That would not be a fair assumption. On Sunday mornings, preachers are busy people. On Saturday nights, so are waitresses.
Finally, on Sunday afternoon, I stopped reading the comments, they hurt too much. Instead, I sat down and visited with my last customer of the day. He was an old, crinkled black man wearing a WWII cap. I thanked him for his service and learned he served in Japan, just like my grandfather did on Iwo Jima in 1945. We talked a little, laughed a little and learned we were neighbors. I carried his leftovers to his truck, he invited me over to visit sometime. And, just like that, I made a new friend.
I didn’t write this letter to stir up trouble, Lord knows there has been enough of that this week. I wrote this to let you know, I’m an imperfect person living in an imperfect world. That I’m a sinner saved by grace and that by all of us extending grace to each other, instead of judgment, we can make this world and our community a better place. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this letter and I hope each and every one of you have a blessed day.
A copy of the reviews left by Pastor Mosley and his wife. Not included are all the hateful comments and shares on social media. The comment section on the Mosley’s page was changed from public to private after about 24 hours, but I saw and read enough to become very upset. I’m a hard-working woman, who may or may not have given them their menus fast enough to suit them or in the order they considered appropriate. Thankfully, I have a boss who knows my character and work ethic, or I may have lost my job over these accusations. Had they kept their reviews to state that they thought the service was slow so they left, I would not be writing this today. Turning things into race issues that are not race issues is exactly what stirs the pot of controversy and keeps racism alive in this country. I am, as I stated, an imperfect person, living in an imperfect world. Not a racist, disrespectful person to be hated on social media.
“Very disappointed with how we were treated. The waitress walked by us several times and not once acknowledge us or offer us menus, we got nothing but a glance. We understood they were busy but four white people walked in way after us and was greeted with menus and a smile. Me and family walked out and will not be back!!”
Stephanie Mosley’s review
“My wife and I went to this place with four kids. We sat down and the waitress walked by us several times without acknowledging us. About 7 to 10 minutes into our sit “and the only reason we sat that long is because they were busy” 4 more people walked in and took their seat and immediately they were given menus and silverware. I told my family let’s go. I refuse to spend money with people I felt we’re disrespectful and racist”
John Mosley’s review