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Sep 25th
Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako WalMart Cashier says, "No Good, No Good," to Disabled Veterans and Retired Military ID Cards
WalMart Cashier says, "No Good, No Good," to Disabled Veterans and Retired Military ID Cards PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 18:23

 

By Jesse Jose

A Cup O' Kapeng Barako

 

T his is a true story, not a figment of my imagination.  And it needs to be told.  I want America to hear about it, especially fellow veterans.

 

The other day I went to our town's WalMart here in Auburn, Washington to pick up my pair of reading glasses.  I have an optician suki there, for almost like eight years now, who I go to, to frame and fit on my face my pair of glasses.  I would go first to the Puget Sound VA hospital in Seattle to get my prescription for new glasses, then I would go to this optician and he would then make my pair of glasses.  I like this guy.  He's very efficient and he always got a smile on his face.


He is originally from
Hong Kong, and his name is Cheung, but I call him, "Bruce Lee."  He doesn't look like Bruce Lee, but he likes the name I've given him.  He knew of Bruce Lee and we would sometimes talk of the legacy of this long-dead, but still famous martial artist and movie actor of the 70's.


That day when I went to see Bruce Lee, he asked me to walk around the store first, do some shopping if I want, while he works on my new glasses.  So I did.  This store is huge and they sell all sorts of merchandise, from clothes to groceries, cosmetics, electronics, drugs, cooked food, plants and gardening tools.  It's one humongous sari-sari store.

 

A VIET CONG CASHIER: I took my time wandering around.  I bought a couple of items.  Then I walked up to a cashier to pay.  She rang up $13.00 on the cash register.  I pulled out my Chase military star credit card to pay and said, "Credit please."

 

"Driver's license," she said, in Pidgin English.  She looked Asian,  Vietnamese, Chinese or Korean, I couldn't tell.  She could be a Pinay, too.  She was short.  And she looked mean.  

 

I pulled out my wallet again to search for my driver's license, but for some reason, I couldn't find it.  So I told her, "I don't have my driver's license with me, but I have other pictured IDs that I can show you."

 

The first one I found in my wallet was my Disabled Veteran ID card.  I showed that to her and said, "This is my Veteran's ID card."

 

"No, no, no, no good," she said.

 

So I pulled out another one of my pictured ID card: my Florida Deputy Sheriff Retired ID card.

 

"No good, no good," she said.

 

So I pulled out this time my Retired US Military ID card.

 

"No, no, no, no good, no good," she said, once again.  At this time, the line of people behind me was getting long.

 

"All these IDs are US government-issued ID cards.  I am a military veteran and a former cop," I finally said in a very loud, angry voice,  "And all these ID cards have my pictures on it and the names on these ID cards have the same name on my military star credit card.  And the pictures of the ID cards all look like me, and you still keep saying, "No, no, no, no good, no good.  WTF!  Ha!"

 

Many of the people waiting to get their shopping rung up were getting riled up by the scene that finally she conceded to recognize my government-issued ID cards.

 

When I went back to the Optical shop to pick up my glasses from Bruce Lee, he said he's still working on it. So I sat down and started mulling over what happened.  I was greatly bothered by it.  It was insulting, I thought, that she won't honor or recognize Disabled Veterans and Military Retired ID cards, or even my Retired Deputy Sheriff ID card. 

 

I even entertained the thought that probably she's a former die-hard Viet Cong and when she saw my US military ID cards, it set off a memory of hate on her mind.  But that war is long over, Vietnam and America are now in good terms and she's now in America, enjoying the good life of living here in this land of milk and honey, generosity and opportunity.

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE: After mulling over the incident, I decided to speak to one of the managers of WalMart.  I approached one of the cashiers and asked for one. One came immediately. I related what happened.  I showed my military star credit card and all the three ID cards I showed to the Viet Cong cashier.

 

At once, the manager apologized profusely and said that my Disabled Veteran ID card more than sufficed as an ID card to present in a credit card transaction, and that she would talk to the cashier about it. 

 

Then shaking my hands, she said: "And thank you for your service, sir." I felt better after that. 

 

Those words gives me a good feeling to hear from people from all walks of life, upon knowing that you've served in the military and had laid your life on the line for this country.

 

I remember those times when the Vietnam War was at its worst in terms of killings and deaths, when people see you in your US military uniform, they would look at you with hate and disgust, spit at you, curse at you and call you, "baby killer!" 

 

It was truly the worst of times for us then, in the military.  Fifty-eight thousand, one-hundred ninety six of my comrades died in Vietnam fighting for this country.  Their names are all etched on that black granite "Wall" in Washington, DC.

 

Today, when people learned that you have served in the US military, they would walk up to you, shake your hand and say: "Thank you for your service."

 

I am a member of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Post 1741, of our town and sometimes on my way to our monthly meetings wearing my VFW hat with all my military ribbons and insignias pinned on it, one or two people would come up to me and say, "Thank for your service."

 

And that gives me a good feeling.  Yes, it's a good feeling that we, white-haired Vietnam-era veterans, are finally receiving the thank-you-for-your-service acknowledgement of America.

 

But these questions remain: Because really ... what was accomplished in that war?  And for that matter, what was accomplished in Iraq and presently, in Afghanistan?  This great country of ours we have sworn our loyalty and allegiance to "called," so we, her warriors, heeded that call.

 

Meanwhile, back at WalMart's: When I headed back to the optical shop, my new reading glasses was ready.  With a smile, Bruce Lee handed it to me.  I tried it on. It was perfect. We shook hands, bowed to each other, then I said, "Thank you, Bruce," and left WalMart.  JJ

 



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