Ever been on the receiving end of an angry tirade that turned threatening? That's exactly what happened to me Saturday on the golf course.
I was on a mini vacation with my mom, and we were golfing on a beautiful Saturday with my uncle Ron and my cousin Debbie. My uncle is an average golfer. Some days he plays very well, and other days he isn't so lucky.
Saturday was one of the best days he ever had on the golf course, and he was hitting the ball for miles (and he had a big grin on his face to show his pleasure with it too). It was turning out to be a great day.
Until the 4 hole.
Uncle Ron stepped up to the tee box and shot a drive that looked like Bubba Watson got a hold of it. Probably the best drive of his life. Perfectly straight, almost on the green (it was a par 4). And, about 50 yards past the group of golfers in front of us.
For those of you that are golfers, you realize that he just made a major gaff. You should never hit up to the golfers in front you, let alone past them. Someone could get seriously hurt by doing that.
Uncle Ron was 100% at fault and immediately felt terrible for this amazing shot. Terrible for what could have happened. Fortunately, he didn't hit anyone (he was well over their heads actually).
One of the group in front of us was very upset by this (rightfully so) and hopped in his golf cart, and came racing back to us.
When he got to us before he said anything my uncle Ron started to apologize. He took full responsibility and was very good about his apology.
This wasn't good enough for Mr. Golfer. He screamed and yelled. Uncle Ron said "I apologize" about four more times and then stopped talking. Clearly, nothing he said was getting through to Mr. Golfer.
Then, he threatened all of us. Seriously. Now it is pretty hard to back down from a physical threat that was uncalled for. I gave my uncle credit though. Although he clarified "Are you threatening me?" he didn't take the bait and didn't get into it with Mr. Golfer. Clearly, he knew that this was a recipe for danger.
When we stopped responding, and he finished screaming, he got in his cart and started to drive away. On his final look at my cousin Debbie, he wagged his finger and told her "Not to be smiling at all about this!" She had a look of "holy cow!" on her face that was not a smile.
So, what would you have done in that situation?
I am guessing it was very difficult for my uncle not to defend himself (or us) as we were being threatened. It was very difficult not to yell back "I've said I'm sorry four times – what else do you want me to do?" It was very difficult not to get baited.
But it was the right thing to do. Yes, being threatened is wayway out of line. But the only way to make this guy go away was to stop talking. What would have been accomplished by arguing with him? Potential danger for sure.
Sometimes the right answer is to not respond. Many times that is the hardest thing to do.
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