Trumplican Strikes Fear in Hannaford Shoppers on Game Day

By Adam Ratterree | Feb 08, 2018
Photo by: Lily May Paradero-Joy Feb. 04, 2018 Belfast student exits Hannaford sporting Trump mask

In anticipation of the Super Bowl, my kids and I decided to go to our local grocery store Hannaford in Belfast, Maine and get some snacks for the game. Our son, was a 12 year old seventh-grader a strong supporter of the President of the United States and a believer of the Constitution, decided to celebrate his patriotism by wearing his Trump mask, Trump hat (this he wears everyday) and his Patriots shirt in celebration of the Super Bowl. As we entered the store, he got looks from people, some snickers and some smiles from people and employees alike. He just walked up and down the aisle looking for stuffs with me, didn't bother anyone didn't harass anyone. Didn't have any motive except he loves being an American and supports the President. Just so you know, his parents didn't vote for Trump (not Hillary either) but we will always respect the Office of the President regardless of whether we like him or not; it's what a true American does. Our son knows that had it been Hillary or Bernie who won, that his parents will still respect the Office of the President. As we were looking for snacks, he informed me that he was going to look for some salsa and some tortillas and after I gave him an okay, he went on his own on to the next aisle while his little sister and I kept looking for other things. As we turned around the corner, I saw my son standing at the end of the aisle next to the registers flanked by 3 Hannaford employees. Wondering what's happening, I went over to him and he leaned over to me and said, "They are telling me to take off my mask or leave but I am not going to take it off, just leave. I'm standing for my freedom of speech." I introduce myself as his mother. One of the employees, a woman said, "He needs to take his mask off or you need to get out of the store." I informed her that my son has the right of Freedom of Speech and that I support him. She continued how the mask was scaring some customers. Really? These people celebrate Halloween, wear all the scary outfits in the name of fun but think the face of the President of the United States on a 12-year old is scary? I asked the woman if she was scared and she said she wasn't and that it wasn't political and that because someone was scared and came to her and that she needs my son to take the mask off or leave the store. I said, "Are you telling me you will ask people to take off their masks during Halloween because it is scary? She replied, "But this is not Halloween! And people don't know who is behind the mask and what is his motive! Does he have to have any motive except he supports the President of this free country? I told her that I support my son's Freedom of Speech even if I didn't vote for Trump. So she called the manager named Phil Zayac who told us again that my son either takes his mask off or leave the store. He said even if we have the Freedom of Speech, the store has rules. So I asked, "Where can I find your rules where can I read them?" To which he replied, "Well, we don't have them anywhere but you can take my word for it!" My son shook the managers hand, didn't take his mask off and we told the employees they can put back the stuff from the cart because that will be the last time we will be in their store! Son kept his right but respected not insisting on staying. We didn't make a scene, just left the store. I was shocked and disgusted at the disrespect for our Constitution. For a business that has clearly thrived and benefited from the goodness of this country, they pick and choose which customer they support but they pride themselves as for diversity and equality! And for people who have been allegedly scared of the mask, I tell you, you were not scared, you just didn't like seeing anything that has to do with Trump. I can guarantee that had anybody wore a Hillary mask or a Bernie mask, that these people would probably even help them shop. I am embarrassed at how our society has created this environment where if you have a different opinion, people will try to do what they can to shut you up. But mind you, the same people boast themselves as the most tolerant, the most loving, the most open-minded people. All of those claims are just mere talk, when it comes to real life application, they are incapable of living it. I am a legal immigrant of this country and became a citizen more than 10 years ago and I am a proud American. I will always be thankful for the privilege of coming here. I will always be grateful for the opportunities this country has afforded me, to live, work and raise a family. I will always support my respect for the Constitution of this great nation and the Office of the President as well as the Democratic process that put him there. My husband has served in the military and law enforcement for years defending our freedom and putting his life on the line for our safety. For that, I will always be grateful for his service to our country, for our freedom, including the very Freedom of Speech our son was exercising today. I was very proud of my son and in all this, he stood tall and didn't get intimidated when three adults, ultimately four told him to take off his mask or leave, he firmly told them, "I will not take off my mask; I am standing for my Freedom of Speech!" I wasn't there yet when they told him to take his mask off, I was just in the next aisle. He didn't call for Mom, he didn't cower in fear nor was he intimidated; he stood his ground and he understood what he was standing for. I know that someday, when he grows up, I am confident that we have raised a man of principle, someone who cannot be bought or sold. That's the greatest want of the world. In America, it shouldn't matter whether you agree with someone or not, you need to respect their right to Freedom of Speech. We cannot continue to be offended with every little thing and demand that they give us a safe space. We don't celebrate Halloween and I am scared of some of the Halloween mask and the decorations itself, but we don't complain and demand that people take them off. We need to stand up for our country, for our children and for our freedom. This is life, people will always have differences in opinion. We teach our children to be respectful of others even if we don't agree with them. If we don't, we will realize how our freedoms will be ripped right out from under our feet all because we have raised sons and daughters who don't operate on principles but on feelings. Some people will attack my son's decision or his parents' decision and yes, you have that right but remember, you pride yourself as being tolerant and open-minded and loving... let's see if it's true! And obviously, after almost 15 years of shopping at Hannaford. I will not spend a dime with a business that picks and chooses their customers and who tries to suppress Freedom of Speech in this great free nation!

--Lily May Paradero-Joy, Belfast

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