My family was a migrant family who would travel to different states following the seasons. We were farm laborers, so at times we were in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. We finally just stopped migrating and decided to stay in Florida City, FL in 1994. I as a Latino man had never experienced any injustice from no one, but one Saturday it all changed for me. It completely scared me, I thought I was going to jail for something I had not done.
Every weekend our family would get ready to go shopping in town, we would always get ready like if we were going to church or a party but we were only going shopping. This weekend looked like all the rest so we made our first stop at a popular Mart store. My mother, two little sisters and I went in to see what we would buy this time. We were doing so well that we had become regulars at this particular store. My older brother didn’t like shopping much so he stayed outside in the truck while we went in. That day we bought a few pair of shoes for my two other brothers and some more clothes for everyone. My sisters at age of 2 and 5 years old were just very inpatient and jumped all over while we were doing our shopping.
We were in this store for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, as soon as my mother paid for everything we had in our shopping cart I took my two little sisters out the door while my mother pushed the cart. My 5 year old sister just ran ahead of us so I ran after her to stop her. As I caught up to her a gentleman grabbed me and took me back to the store, another man had already taken my mother. Then they took us to the back to the security room, stating that we had stolen some items. My mother had a receipt for everything that we were carrying in the bags but what they said we had stolen wasT the new shoes both my sisters had on and the brand new shirt I had on.
I truly didn’t not know why they kept insisting we had done that, one of the security men kept scaring me threatening to take me to jail but he couldn’t prove that we had done what he claimed. There was no other shirt or shoes plus they didn’t have video where they could show we had a different shirt or shoes because we didn’t. I didn’t know what I was going to do; I wanted to cry but didn’t want to scare my two little sisters and mother. My mother didn’t speak English so she defiantly didn’t know what was going on or what they were telling me. But something remarkable happened that forced them to release us. The farmer we worked for was outside talking to my bother when all this started, I just thank God because before we left our home that day to do our shopping he had gone to our home to speak to us about the work site we was going the following Monday. He had seen us and what we were wearing when he saw us at our home earlier that day, so he spoke in our behalf and they let us go.
Now even though we hadn't done anything the security from this particular store banned us from there. That was the last time we stepped in that store but we still continued our shopping every weekend but at other stores in the city. I could never understand why they accused us of such actions but I knew I was an honest person as my mother had raised me.