Reader Amanda manages a coffee shop in Alabama. Recently, a Christian proselytizer came to her workplace…
She writes this in an email:
… When I came in to work today, there was a gentleman at my counter who had already been served by another employee. He left shortly after my employee did, but came back about thirty minutes later. As he entered the store, I greeted him, as I do with all customers, and he said, “Oh, I forgot to leave you a tip!” dropping some quarters into the tip jar on the counter.
Then, he handed me a tract that said “Between You and GOD” on the front. I was so dumbfounded and, frankly, irritated that someone would do something like that to me having never spoken to me and not knowing anything about me — and that they would have the audacity to do something like this to an individual at her workplace. He lied to me and said he wasn’t trying to evangelize me, to which I replied, “Right…” and he quickly retracted the statement, saying, “No, I am trying to evangelize you. This [pointing to the pamphlet] changed my life, and I think it will help you.” And then he left while I glared at him, dumbfounded.
I really wanted to curtly inform him that I thought he was being incredibly rude (and I also had a few other choice words for him), but I wanted to ask you, how would you deal with someone proselytizing at your workplace?
Have you ever experienced this?
This is some of what I wrote back to Amanda. Feel free to share your own thoughts:
I wouldn’t take it too seriously, whether it was in AL or anywhere else. The guy wanted to preach. As long as he wasn’t causing a disturbance in the store (preaching to customers), then I’d kinda brush him off. Tell him you’re an atheist (if you want to have *that* conversation)… or tell him you’re already a Christian (just to get rid of him)… or tell him this is not the appropriate time/place for that type of conversation.
If he persists, then you have trouble, If he’s doing this to all the employees — and making them lose focus on their jobs — then you also have trouble.
I’ve never really dealt with this scenario as I work at a public high school. But if someone wanted to talk about religion, I would probably find a time to have that discussion — because I like having that debate. Or I’d say I’m just not interested.
It’s a different issue all together if a colleague is the one trying to preach to you, but that’s not Amanda’s scenario.