I boarded the Megabus taking me from London back to Glasgow, and spied two seats at the front of the bus with extra leg room. There was a woman in the window seat of each side with the aisle seat empty. I asked if I could sit down, but both women said they were waiting for friends. I sat in the row behind doubting their words as the bus was set to leave in five minutes. I turned to the girl sitting next to me and whispered, "I think they might be lying". I leaned over the seat and asked, "who is coming to sit here, and why aren't they here yet?" They replied that their friends had just stepped out of the bus to make a phone call. I settled back into my seat and whispered to the girl beside me, "turns out I'm just a bitch."
The woman in the front row turned around saying, "how dare you call me a bitch. Just because I'm black and you are white you think it gives you the right to call me a bitch. Do not try to deny it, I heard you."
"I didn't call you that, I called myself that," I answered. I started to cry. How could I have mistakenly made this woman believe that I was a racist who felt herself superior. How could I have given such a negative impression (probably the only impression I will ever make on this woman) in just two minutes.
"Do not try to deny it, I heard you. You will answer to God for what you have done." She continued chastising me leaving me no room to defend myself through my tears. Eventually, I stood up and left saying, "I'm so sorry."
Sitting further back, I think I heard the girl I was sitting next to try to explain the situation, but the woman was beyond listening.
I believe we are both at fault here for not understanding each other. I was perceived wrongly, but I also gave the wrong impression. The fact of the matter is that we are judged not by our intentions, but by what others perceive our intentions to be.