Tag Archives: new zealand

Do You Know What is Wrong With You? (YouTube video)

Have you ever had someone who you didn’t know tell you EXACTLY what was wrong with you? I have! Sometimes you can’t avoid The Law of the Garbage Truck.


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Image in video courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do You Know What is Wrong With You?

Do You Know What is Wrong With You?

By Terence Cole @talesfromterry

Click here to watch the video of this story on YouTube

Have you ever had someone who you didn’t know tell you EXACTLY what was wrong with you?

I have!

It was a Sunday morning in January, and Tonya and I were enjoying the beautiful Auckland weather. It was 70 degrees, a cool breeze was blowing, and I was with a gorgeous lady.

Life was good!

After about 40 minutes of leisurely walking around, we decided to return home to eat breakfast. The sun was shining and birds were chirping…

And then I met Papa New Guinea Guy.

As we were walking, we passed a rough looking gentleman who was waiting at a bus stop. He looked at us and waved us over. Wanting to be friendly, we walked to him and had this conversation:

Papa New Guinea Guy: “Where are you from?”

Me: “America.”

Papa New Guinea Guy: “Ah, America.”

Tonya: “Are you from Papa New Guinea?”

Papa New Guinea Guy: “Yes.”

Tip from Terence: Tonya assumed he was from Papa New Guinea because of his look. Many of the people from that country have a very unique look, and she made an educated guess. Not all forms of profiling have to be negative.

At this point, I’m expecting to have a pleasant conversation. PNG Guy, however, had another idea:

Papa New Guinea Guy: “Do you know what’s wrong with the black man in America?”

Me: “Uhhhhhh…”

Papa New Guinea Guy: “The black man in America is not clever!”

I had to admit, if I weren’t so offended, I might have been impressed! To have my gender, race, and nationality insulted within 10 seconds of meeting you… That takes skill!

He continued:

Papa New Guinea Guy: “We see you on TV being killed by the police. In my country, if that happens, we chop ’em up and put ’em in the toilet. You are not clever!”

What do you say to someone who tells you what is wrong with YOU?

Yes, the United States is not perfect, and there are very unfair things happening. But when did this guy become an expert on international affairs?

He went on for about 30 more seconds, and then Tonya said:

Tonya: “Okay, we have to go. Bye!”

And she walked off.

Why didn’t I think of that?

As we were walking away, the man continued to talk as if he didn’t care whether or not we were part of the conversation.

We went back to the apartment. I wasn’t exactly upset, but I wasn’t happy either. I did a forgiveness exercise, got the negative energy off of my spirit, and we sat down to eat breakfast and discuss what happened.

It turns out that Tonya had seen this guy a number of times. My guess is that he wanted to say something to her before, but that he didn’t think it was appropriate for him to talk to an American female who was alone.

However, with me there, all bets were off!

This guy had been waiting for a perfect opportunity to let someone know his opinions on the United States, and he could not wait to unload.

After discussing the situation with Tonya, I was reminded of a philosophy that Joel Osteen described called The Law of the Garbage Truck.

The Law of the Garbage Truck basically says that some people are like garbage trucks and go around all day collecting trash. Eventually, they will want to dump their trash, and they just might dump it on you!

Can you prevent everyone from dumping their trash on you? Probably not.

But you can keep your lid on tight!

PNG guy had his big bag of trash and was waiting for a United States trash can to walk by.

And I happened to be that guy!

After I had forgiven him, I had to laugh at the reverse of the situation. What if I had done the same to him?

Me: “Excuse me, sir? Are you from Papa New Guinea?”

Papa New Guinea Guy: “Yes.”

Me: “Great! Do you know what’s wrong with your country?!”

I can’t think of a better way to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

You don’t have to engage in any conversation in which you are being abused. Sometime it is better to just walk away quickly.

Incidentally, a couple of weeks later we were at a gas station and a Kiwi taxi driver pulled up to us and introduced himself. He knew we were American and was clearly happy to see us. We discussed some of his travels in the United States, and we ended the conversation by exchanging websites. He even encouraged me to give him a call if I ever wanted to play tennis.

After we parted ways, I told Tonya that interacting with this guy was the exact opposite of the Papa New Guinea guy.

You never know who you’ll meet while traveling. But, no matter what happens, keep your lid on tight!


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Image in video courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dodging Blows at Christmas

Countdown in Auckland New Zealand

Countdown in Auckland, New Zealand (image from Wikipedia)

By Terence Cole @talesfromterry

Click here to watch the video of this story on YouTube

A couple of years ago I was in New Zealand for Christmas, and my girlfriend and I were shopping in a grocery store called Countdown. We had just checked out with our groceries, when we saw members of the Salvation Army singing. Like many others in the store, we stopped to enjoy the music.

Tip from Terence: Because New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, its seasons are the exact opposite of the United States. Even though I was there during the Christmas season, the weather was around 80 degrees! While people in the United States may think of snowflakes and Santa Claus for Christmas, New Zealanders think of beaches and barbecue.

A gentleman stood next to me. His clothing and demeanor looked rough, but he was smiling and enjoying the music along with the rest of the crowd. I looked at him and smiled. He looked at me and smiled… Then he PUNCHED me in the throat!


“Cough! Cough!”

Normally, I have good reflexes and should have been able to prevent this! However, not only was I holding two full bags of groceries, but who expects to be punched while listening to the Salvation Army sing at a grocery store?

All I could do was look at him and say, “Why did you do that?”

I then heard my girlfriend yell from the front of the store, “LET’S GO!!!!”

I walked away. About two minutes later the rage caught up with me and I was furious! What on earth just happened? Who assaults someone while listening to Christmas music?

While we were walking home my girlfriend was berating me. She told me that I should have known there was no way to reason with that man, because it clearly looked like something was wrong with him.

She was right, but my mind was racing too much to think about her words. All I could think about was what might have happened had I not walked away. I’ve had three years of Taekwondo training, and every scenario that went through my head ended up with me at a police station!

I got home and began to forgive the man. “Lord, please forgive this man for punching me in the throat! Forgive him, bless him, and release him!” Years ago I learned that forgiveness is a choice and that it should be done as quickly as possible. You don’t necessarily forgive someone for their benefit, but because it removes poisonous anger from your spirit. And because forgiveness is a choice, it can be done whether or not you are at fault. You can’t be sure of why everything happens to you in life, but you can respond in a way that does not keep you in bondage to bad experiences.

After fifteen or so minutes I was calm again.

Looking back, I’m glad that I walked away, because any other response would have been bad for everyone involved! I don’t know what was wrong with that man, but I hope he was able to get the help that he needed.

Remember, just because it looks like everyone is having a good time, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention. There are both good and “questionable” people all over this world. You just have to be able to discern who is who. Happy travels, and be sure to stay vigilant even if you are listening to the Nutcracker Suite!


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