Open Letter: Please Don’t Do This When Your Phone Needs a Charge
An Open Letter to the person who couldn't have been acting much more suspiciously at the Culver's in Lansing's Towne Center this weekend:
We all find our phone batteries running low from time to time. It's nothing to be ashamed of - it happens to the best of us.
If you're in public and happen to have your phone charger with you when this happens - how fortunate! Find an electrical outlet and give your phone a quick boost. (The management of the establishment you're at may or may not be okay with this - that's not the point.)
How you chose to handle your presumed "low battery" situation in Lansing this weekend was almost a textbook case of everything not to do.
- You walked in a solid black hoodie (hood up, mind you), and instead of waiting in line at the counter to order, you quickly bee-lined for a corner in the dining area.
- You stood facing the corner for a solid 30 seconds, fiddling with something in your hoodie pockets.
- When you finally pulled out and plugged in a phone charger, you then sat - continuing to face the corner, hood up, alone, huddled over your phone like it was the only thing keeping you warm.
Let me explain why this is an issue.
Unfortunately, we live in a time in the United States where citizens constantly have to be on-guard for the potential of a mass shooting. We're no longer able to simply enjoy our Saturday afternoon ButterBurger in peace, paying no mind to what's going on around us.
Your behavior raised a number of red flags for me and several other diners.
Your hoodie wasn't a problem. The fact that you left your hood up inside wasn't awful either. However, when you couple that with deviating from the norm of waiting in line to order something, or perhaps going to the restroom first - and instead heading straight for an empty corner of the restaurant and facing the corner - that's when you began to raise eyebrows.
You've become a suspicious person at this point.
You followed that by continuing to face the corner, fiddling with something in your hoodie pockets for a good half a minute. It's a sad commentary on where we are as a society that onlookers worry that you may be preparing to pull out a weapon.
I'm sure I wasn't the only one relieved when you fished out a phone charger (of all things) instead of a gun or a knife.
You were already in the corner. You could have easily viewed whatever you needed to view on your phone in privacy. Huddling over it while continuing to face the corner only added to the suspicious nature of the experience.
It seems you were a harmless person, completely oblivious about the world around you. Just someone who desperately needed to charge their phone.
Here's hoping this note somehow gets to you and you're able to alter how you handle such situations in the future. It's not too hard to imagine a scenario where someone might take a "shoot first, ask questions later" approach to your suspicious activity.
Again, we live in a different world now.