Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Open Letter of Apology to the Subway Sandwich Guy

So you know how in the personal ads and on Craigslist, there’s a section for missed connections and unfinished conversations? Bear with me:

To the Subway Sandwich Guy (or, Guy Dressed Up like a Subway Sandwich at the U.S. Cellular Sports Complex on May 16th):

If you’re out there, I want to take this opportunity to tell you I am very sorry that my preschooler punched you in the gut (the tomato and lettuce region?) repeatedly. He says you pushed him first, but still. Whatever they’re paying you at Subway to dress up as a sandwich and allow yourself to be assaulted by children, it’s not enough. Not near enough. Are you listening Subway? Pay. That man. More.

Signed, The Mother Who Let it Happen


That’s right, last Saturday, I was greeted with the shocking sight of my four-year-old beating down a six-foot Subway sandwich.

Yes, really. I couldn’t make this up. Well, I could, but I didn't. There were witnesses. And while I appreciate that you had to see it to believe it, allow me to explain. Last weekend was the grand opening of a new sports complex. It was all very exciting. There was an opening ceremony. There was a free football clinic. There were balloons. And, unfortunately, there was a guy dressed up as a sub sandwich to promote the new Subway counter on the premises.

It was also very hot, so I allowed Toby to join some other younger kids playing in the shade underneath the grandstand bleachers while I sat at the top, watching Calvin play his flag football game. At one point, I happened to glance down, and what did I see?

Toby, red in the face and possibly suffering from heat stroke, pounding on the poor guy dressed in the head-to-toe Subway sandwich costume.

I’m not kidding. The guy was cornered, doubled at the waist. And here‘s the worst part: his arms were pathetically trapped under the whole wheat roll…he had no way to defend himself. A gang of motley children had circled around, cheering Toby on.

WHAT was happening?!

Naturally, I started screaming to him, but he couldn’t hear me. As I raced down the bleachers to stop him, I’m pretty sure my friend started filming the whole incident with the video camera that was supposed to be trained on the football game. If it’s on YouTube, I will disown her. But if it’s on AFV, I will be happy to split the prize money. (Oh, and Lindsay, if you're wondering, this was right after I got off the phone with you.)

By the time I get to Toby, Sandwich Guy has run away; I can see him half wobbling, half weaving his way back to the sanctuary of his Subway booth. The children have scattered, leaving Toby, panting and still clearly unnerved. I do that patented Mommy-yank to his arm, dragging him to the side.

“WHAT are you DOING?!”

Upon closer inspection, he looks panicked. “That sandwich pushed me!” he says.

First of all, I kind of doubt it. Second of all, “That’s a person that you’re hitting, Toby!”

And this is where he looks genuinely stunned. “It is?”

I blink. “Do you really think a six foot sandwich is walking around?!” Last I checked, this was a reasonably intelligent child.

He nods. And in his eyes, I can see he means it. He really thought a gargantuan sandwich was on the loose.

“Toby! It’s a costume! There’s a man in there!” I suddenly feel as though I might as well be shouting that the Easter Bunny isn’t real.

He has the grace to look chagrined. “Oh.”

I can see the wheels of his brain turning. I hope it‘s telling him: Then I probably shouldn’t have drop-kicked him.

When we see the sandwich again upon leaving (he’s staying closer to home now), I make Toby apologize. He walks up to him hesitantly. I can’t see Sandwich Guy’s eyes, but he does seem to cower. The ham hanging out of his costume sort of droops.

Toby stands solemnly in front of him until I give him a nudge.

“Sorry, Sandwich.”
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