By Anna Peirano
It's good to remember that often times, a small act can mean a great deal to a large number of people. So is the case in a recent story recounted by Joel Diaz, originally published in the Huffington Post.
Last Saturday night, Diaz and his boyfriend Ethan were in line at Mikey's Late Night Slice Truck in Columbus, Ohio. They were holding hands, standing close together, and laughing while waiting for their pizza when the man in front of them turned around and told the pair to cut their "gay shit out."
Almost immediately, nearly every person in line, gay and straight, criticized the man, telling him that his language was not ok. "I didn't expect to see allies so willing to chime in and let this guy know that his hate speech wouldn't be tolerated," wrote Diaz. When the man continued to berate the couple, pizza truck employee Levi Taylor leaned out the window and told the man to get out of line, and that he would not be served because he was "spewing hate."
Diaz, who is the Chief Development OFficer of the AIDS Resource Center in Ohio, wrote, "As I walked away with my pizza all I could think about was 'THAT'S IT!' Every person who spoke up to defend us including the pizza guys representing their business was doing their part to make hate a thing of the past."
The pizza truck has received a great deal of publicity after the account of the evening went viral. While it has been great for business, Taylor says, "I think, more importantly, a guy came up for a slice of pizza, and got a cold slice of justice."
Mikey's Late Night Slice is now up to over 10,000 likes on Facebook and has received support from people across the country. After Diaz's article was published, the company posted the following message on their Facebook wall in acknowledgement:
"Thank you Joel Diaz for sharing the account of your experience at our truck this past weekend. We can't tell you how proud we are of our truck workers that night for speaking up and doing the right thing. We are also immensely grateful for the kind words and support for us that has emerged since the post first went up.
We are humbled by the attention that this whole thing has gotten us. But we feel that the greatest recognition belongs to our neighborhood as a whole, here in the Short North. By accounts, there was no shortage of locals willing to speak up and intervene when the incident occurred. It is so wonderfully comforting to know that the hearts of our neighbors are filled with kindness and tolerance.
Thank you again, Joel, for sharing. And also to our fellow Short North denizens for standing beside your neighbors and speaking up for what's right."
The company is understandably doing what they can to go with the momentum of the situation. Soon, t-shirts will be available for purchase online with the phrase, "No Slut Sauce for you, Mr. Homophobe" on the back of the shirt. Mikey's Late Night Slice says they will donate most of the profits from the shirt sale to Equality Ohio.
You can visit their website here.
And you can read Diaz's original account on the Huffington Post here.