Last week, The Pappas Post was the first to report publicly that our very own sports writer, Thanasi Papoulias and his wife Sophia were verbally harassed in a Los Angeles supermarket while speaking Greek to each other.
Thanasi and Sophia, both American-born, insist in speaking Greek to each other so they can keep the language alive in their household and especially their children.
The incident, part of which was captured on video by Thanasi, went viral and dozens of news organizations picked up the story which ended with the store manager asking the verbally assaulting woman to leave the store.
Thanasi’s video traveled the world with lightening speed capturing the ire of hundreds of thousands of viewers, as well as a select few who supported the woman’s right to remind the couple to “speak fucking English” since they were in America.
The hero of the day, according to many, was the store manager who quickly came to the scene of the altercation and asked the harassing woman to leave the store.
As a result, Thanasi and his wife wanted to reward the manager who was the only one out of about 15 people who dared to speak up during the incident. They’ve set up a GoFundMe account to raise $6000 to send the manager to Greece as a way of thanking her for the kindness she showed the couple.
Currently, the fund has reached $1,558 of its $6,000 goal, which will be used to send the manager on a vacation to Greece.
“Sophia and I feel that the store manager deserves a reward. She went above and beyond and we need to show the world that these kinds of people are amazing citizens,” Thanasi said in a statement, adding that “We might as well make something good come of all this. And frankly, we’d prefer to put the focus on her actions because we need more people like her around.”
“It was shocking for us because we are so used to speaking Greek amongst ourselves. It was the first language I learned at home and we want to keep the language alive in our family and are making sure our children learn it, as well, according to Sophia, who added that “It’s the diversity of our country that makes it wonderful. We wanted to turn this horrible experience into something good.”
In addition to writing sports articles for The Pappas Post, working in the movie cinema world and teaching his two young kids Greek, Thanasi spends his free time writing on his (quite appropriately named) blog Excuse Me Are You Greek.