Blueberries on the floor

Behind The News
June 9, 2008 12:30:25 PM PDT
When do you say something that doesn't directly affect your immediate existence? It's a question many people ask and have angst about. My kids would say that I get involved way too often in situations that I shouldn't. Maybe it's because, being kids, they get embarrassed when their father raises a stink about something in public.

And I do. Perhaps too often.

(And my kids, when left to their own, have often spoken up - which pleases me no end.)

I have stopped for the most part confronting people who spit on the sidewalk. Oh, I want to, and it takes everything ounce of will power to not ask them, "Hey, do you know that people walk on these sidewalks, and then track your spit into their houses?"

I stopped doing that after I was confronted by one-too-many people telling me to go to hell.

Anyway, speaking up for the right thing is important, I believe.

I had to do it today. I was in my neighborhood grocery store this morning, waiting in line behind a woman who dropped a container of blueberries on the ground, spilling the fruit everywhere. I watched as a clerk scooped them up with his hand, put them back in the container, closed it and then, to my shock, put it back in the for-sale bin.

I grabbed it and took it to the clerk, and made it clear that I was more than slightly shocked that blueberries on the ground would be gathered up and re-packaged. I was told that, yes, it was wrong, and that, it wouldn't happen again.

If I hadn't said anything, some poor schnook - maybe me - would have bought those blueberries. And it made me wonder about all the food we buy. Yes, it's all a leap of faith - buying food, driving down the street, walking on the sidewalk, flying in a plane. But at some point we count on the basic decency of our fellow humans to do the right thing and, in this case, throw the dang blueberries away when they drop on the floor of a grocery store that is trampled on every day.

We are all faced with these say-something-or-not choices every day. We're covering a story on Long Island today, where the mother of a teenager became suspicious over the generosity of a local merchant and, not wanting to be passive, looked up the owner on the web. Turns out he's a convicted sex offender. And the shocker was that her son and a friend were abused by this guy.

But she said something. She took action. It's a lesson for all of us.

We'll have the latest on the case, tonight at 11.

We'll also deal with the heat tonight -- oppressive, stifling heat. Many schools that were in session were let out early; some others never opened. Some businesses sent workers home early, and air conditioners not accustomed to full-throttle use this early in the season were, in fact, on full-throttle. (Read more)

Lee Goldberg will tell us how long this will last.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Scott Clark with the night's sports, including the retirement of the Giants' defensive end Michael Strahan. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.