Sister on a Mission

A Muslimah in the Midwest trying to counteract all the "war on terror" propaganda.

Location: Midwest, United States

Friday, March 03, 2006

Bad Apples

It was one of those bright February days that reassures you it won’t be winter forever. The air was cold and crisp but the sun had that springtime cheerfulness. I was on my way home to visit my parents in central Kansas, with three kids and my mother-in-law in tow. We were enjoying the trip and decided to make a pit-stop at Peabody. I love to visit the small towns of Kansas and I thought the 1880’s Main Street would be a treat for my mother-in-law to experience. She’s visiting from overseas and by way of downtowns had only seen the big city's (where we live), which doesn’t sport much in the way of Americana.

We drove down Main Street and turned around, deciding to eat at Sharon’s Korner Kitchen. As we rounded the block to find a parking space a grey car passed us going the other direction. My kids' jaws dropped open and my youngest declared, “Mom, that guy ‘flicked’ us off!” I giggled, amused by both the way he had misspoken and by the willingness of some people to display the low level of their intellect in public. I told them to just ignore it.

But when we pulled near our parking spot on the north side of the Korner Kitchen, the guy, sporting short brown hair and vicious expression, passed us again – this time with his arm hanging out the window, at the ready. As he passed us he flipped me the bird directly in my face. “Whew!” I thought. “Some people need a hobby.” I didn’t think any more about him until we got out of our car and found him parked across Main Street, staring at us as we entered the restaurant.

I thought about our venture into Peabody. Had we done something to offend this gentleman? All we had done was drive down Main Street and stop for lunch. It had to be our scarves. I’m an American Muslim, and my mother-in-law and I both cover ourselves in the same manner that nuns traditionally do. You can’t tell by looking at me, but I’m 100% Kansas raised – the product of a long line of patriotic ancestors. My great-great-grandfather Mathew Golding served in the Union army, my grandfather was at the Battle of the Bulge, and my father was in the Air Force during Vietnam. I was even born on an Air Force Base. I’ve been Muslim for 18 years, and am proud of both my heritage and my faith, which dovetail together in a value structure of good morals and strong service. I have never encountered anyone who treated me venomously because of my faith or my manner of dress, as most Kansans are fair-minded, interested in different cultures and generous of heart. They understand that a few criminals don’t represent an entire faith.

When we sat down and looked north out the window of Sharon’s we were horrified to see our friend cross Main Street and pull into the bank parking lot north of Sharon’s and simply sit there, facing our car which was parked on the street. When he remained there several minutes it became obvious that he was waiting for us to come out.

Although I have never had cause to be afraid anywhere in Kansas, I was afraid that day. What kind of person gets a thrill out of intimidating women and children like that? What did he plan to do when we emerged from Sharon’s? But God says in the Qur’an, “Verily, with difficulty comes ease”, and ease that day came in the form of police officer Travis Wilson, who was eating his lunch at the next table. I told him our story and asked him to keep an eye on the grey car, which he gladly agreed to do, and we tried to eat our meal.

God works in mysterious ways, and that day He used one malcontent to show us the kind hearts and protective souls of Peabody. Soon Officer Wilson was joined by his mother, grandmother and nephew, who heard us telling our server about the man in the grey car. His mother told me they’d all walk us to our car if necessary.

By this time the man in the grey car, who thought he was watching us, was the most watched man in town. Everyone in the restaurant marveled at his audacity and wondered about his questionable motives. They laughed at his arrogance and reassured us that the rest of the town was not so bigoted or malevolent. They embraced us and made us feel welcome in their midst. My mother-in-law and I were almost brought to tears by their kindness and concern. We were finally able to eat a little of our wonderful lunches.

A half hour later when he was finished with his lunch, Officer Wilson drove around and pulled in next to the man in the grey car. This was enough to cause him to reconsider his plans and he hightailed it out of there PDQ. We left soon after and not only did Officer Wilson accompany us out of town, but his mother sent us off with hugs and the entire restaurant added their good wishes. While we had entered Sharon’s doubting human nature, we left glowing with the knowledge of the truth that had been reiterated to us: a few criminals don’t represent the whole, and in fact bad apples often serve to highlight the sweetness of the rest. God bless the great people of Peabody!


Blogger Mohammed Is A Woman, Peace Be Upon Her said...

There is a growing amount of evidence that The Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon Her, is a woman. There is a growing amount of evidence that The Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon Her, is a woman.

Wed Mar 08, 08:54:00 PM CST  
Blogger Not Just Another Jane Doe said...

Hi Sister on a Mission! I just started blogging and have been reading your posts. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your experiences and offering your insight!

Fri Mar 10, 10:51:00 PM CST  
Blogger b. said...


Goodness gracious, what a weird comment you have here. @@@@@@@@@

Alhumdillah for your experience in Peabody. It's nice to know that there are still people out there in the world like Officer Wilson and the people in Sharon's. :)

Wed Mar 15, 11:34:00 AM CST  
Blogger Aaminah said...

Asalaamu alaikum ukhti! So glad to see you blogging a bit again. AlhamdulAllah, what a lovely story.

Thu Mar 16, 03:29:00 PM CST  
Blogger Xpatriated Texan said...

A beautiful tale. A good reminder that all of us, regardless of what our concept of God is, are called to be brothers and sisters and to shower all around us with kindness.

Please, join us.


Wed Apr 19, 07:19:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Edward Ott said...

What an uplifting story thank you for sharing it.


Fri Apr 21, 10:44:00 AM CDT  
Blogger Denise said...

I've just wandered onto your site by way of another Islamic site, and I very much enjoyed this post. I am an American Muslim convert as well, and am going to be wearing the hijab starting late this summer (I'm "preparing" I was glad to read in your post that people can be supportive of our faith, not just critical. It moved me.
I'm trying to chronical my changes and Islamic "gripes", too. My website is
Thank you for a great post. I'm making you a "favorite".

Fri Apr 21, 08:35:00 PM CDT  
Anonymous Becky said...

Assalamu alaikum,

This is such a heartwarming story. Thanks for sharing it.

Fri May 12, 12:42:00 AM CDT  

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