What should have been a great date night with my wife was ruined by a Houston County Probation Officer. After a late afternoon matinee, my wife and I sat down to dinner at Ole Times Country Buffet on Russell Parkway in Warner Robins. The meal was excellent, but our dining experience was tainted as we had to listen to the boisterous opinion stating of a Houston County probation officer.
I only know his position because he proudly wore his duty weapon on his side and his official polo shirt. As he sat eating supper with what appeared to be his mother and one of her friends, he stated many of his political views. Some of which I admit are not different from mine. The problem was his volume. There is a difference between conversational speech and public disturbance. He never once stopped to notice all the customers he was making uncomfortable. Table by table people were leaving. I think someone else may have said something but because he wore his gun, and his official polo shirt most sat silently. I am sure it was their fear of reprisal.
Finally, I spoke up. He then looked at me and said, “Sir I am trying to have a private conversation, I would appreciate it if you would turn around.” Oh, he was very official sounding. I asked, “if it’s a private conversation only you and the people at your table should hear it.” A couple sitting next to his table quickly chimed in agreeing with my statement. Even His mother nodded in agreement as I was speaking and tapping him and calmly asking him to be quiet.
I tried to maintain a non-threatening tone, but he kept talking loud and saying “Sir, I am trying to have a private conversation.” Finally he says to me, “If you don’t turn around I will call the Houston County Police and have you arrested.” Wow, I didn’t see that coming. He was the one disturbing the peace.
I did ask him what would I be charged with? He said nothing. Maybe I was wrong, but, I felt the need to let him know I was not afraid of him.
Finally, I went and got the restaurant manager. I explained to him that three tables of his customers were being run off. Very unhappy to hear this he quickly came to address the situation. Ironically, when he saw who was causing the commotion he even seemed a little afraid to deal with the situation. He did however come to the table and talk with him. He expressed his opinions to the restaurant manager.
When he noticed that the restaurant manager wasn’t agreeing with him he finally says, “Well I will just be quiet until they leave.” Finally. Yes, I sat and finished my meal. It was now however ruined. My wife, who is also a veteran, was also very offended. The poor server Matt lost tips when customers left their dinners unfinished.
As a local clergyman, I was offended by his opinions and brazen above the law attitude.
As a disabled veteran I was embarrassed by his actions in uniform. Obviously, he had forgotten that when in uniform you represent the people or government whose uniform you wear. That being said, I would like to thank Houston County for your hospitality. The dinner was $20, the ability to enjoy it would have been priceless.
People are supposed to respect the law not fear it. I guess it’s true that power corrupts
William Rand is the pastor of Southside Community Church in Macon.