The couple is now trying to send the store manager to Greece as a 'thank you.'
While in line at a Los Angeles supermarket over the weekend, Sophia Antonopoulos-Papoulias and Thanasi Papoulias were speaking Greek to each other when a woman behind them suddenly took offense to their bilingual abilities.
Though the Greek-American couple are fluent in both Greek and English, they just happened to be speaking Greek when the woman came up behind them to buy a bottle of water.
According to Thanasi, he heard grumbling behind him so he turned around and said, “Excuse me?” to which the woman replied loudly,
“Speak f*cking English, this is America!”
Thanasi and Sophia were shocked to say the least, especially when the woman began cursing at them profusely and saying offensive things about their nationality. She proceeded to tell the pair to go back to their country, despite the fact that the couple was born in the U.S., and none of the dozen or so people in the immediate area intervened at first.
Thanasi took his phone out to record the end of the racist rant, after the woman had already been surprised to hear the couple speak perfect, “American-accented” English. In the video, the store manager eventually intervenes by telling the woman she is not welcome at the store and taking her water bottle so that the woman can leave. The woman claimed several times that she was not harassing the couple, although she continuously kept telling them to speak English because they were in America… To which they responded in English every time.
Sophia and Thanasi knew that they weren’t in any immediate danger, but speculated about how the situation could have turned out differently. For example, what if Sophia had been alone when she was attacked or, even worse, with their children?
The couple was extremely grateful that the store manager stepped in when no one else did. Thanasi said in a blog post about the rest of the people standing around,
“All too often I feel like incidents of harassment occur and more people choose to look the other way rather than help.”
In response, the couple has set up a GoFundMe page to send the store manager to Greece as a token of their gratitude and to show that good deeds deserve to be rewarded. If for whatever reason the store manager doesn’t accept the gift or doesn’t use all of the funds, they have vowed to donate the funds to a charity that fights racism and/or xenophobia in the U.S. If you would like to donate to the campaign, you can do so here.
Watch the interaction in the video below:
So ya, this happened. Being told to speak English because this is America.
— Thanasi Papoulias (@thanasiii) January 15, 2017
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This article (Woman Swiftly Kicked Out Of Store For Racist Rant Aimed At Greek Couple [Watch]) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and True Activist.