I love going to one of the local casinos. I love playing poker, not necessarily because I'm good at it (I'm okay most of the time) but because it's one of the few things I do where I'm around a lot of people and having a good time.

diversity elder protection
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Most of the time the people at the table are nice and funny, and we have a lot of laughs. Unfortunately it's not always like that. One time in particular was bad enough that I had to do something I've never had to do again, and made a friend for life with one of the dealers there.

There was an older Asian woman playing at our table, and this young man of some nationality I wasn't familiar with started baiting her and treating her with disrespect. He thought he was being smart and smug, and though I'd seen this woman before, she's not really that good.

On one hand when he'd bested her again and started talking stuff, I'd had enough. I told him his behavior was out of line, especially at our table and to this particular lady. I said he should be ashamed of himself, baiting this woman who was old enough to be his mother (she's probably older), and that he was being disrespectful and needed to stop because I wasn't putting up with it any further.

He tried to defend himself, but I wasn't having it, and his "friends" sitting near him told him they agreed with me and that he was baiting her. She didn't say anything, and I'm not sure what her thoughts were, but I didn't care by then.

There's a growing lack of respect for people these days, and I don't like it one bit. I see it almost everywhere I go, and in a work situation, it's easily suppressed because there are rules that everyone has to follow if they don't want to be unemployed.

However, in public the rules and getting blurred, especially where it concerns someone younger and someone older, and especially men and women. Many times I let those things go, because I'm expecting someone else to step in and take care of things; it's supposed to be the dealer's job. In this case it should have been the dealer, but he was trying to stay out of it so, it had to be me.

I'm the diversity guy after all, but I'm also someone who believes people deserve respect until they show they don't deserve it. Even so, younger people need to at least try to respect their elders, and they need to watch themselves if they're behaving badly towards minorities. I've always been pretty sensitive to that sort of thing, and if no one else steps in and takes care of it it's probably going to be me doing it. I'm hot-wired that way.

To the guy's credit, he started acting better, and the tension at the table eased off as well. I have to count myself lucky that his buddies sided with me; you're never sure how that type of thing will go, but even then I was a regular visitor and I knew some of the other personnel would have my back if things started getting out of hand.

Even though I know it's a scary proposition, sometimes we all have to do the right thing, stop the madness and step in when someone's being verbally abused for no reason. It would be great if we stepped in to stop physical abuse also, but in these days where people are carrying concealed weapons it might not be the safest thing to do.

I love reading stories where someone did the right and heroic thing by standing up for someone who doesn't deserve the treatment they're getting. I'll always be that person if I have to; are you ready to step up to the plate?