Minding our own business is often the easiest thing to do, especially if we witness a public injustice. But if you saw someone being verbally abused in public, would you walk on by or would you intervene?
The hit TV show What Would You Do? posed the very same question when they sent two actors, David and Lorraine, into a busy store. They pretended to be a married couple with a very uncomfortable dynamic. Lorraine, without doubt, was being bullied by her power-hungry husband.
As the cameras roll, Lorraine is getting way more than the items on her shopping list, and she needs help. David showers her with personal insults before raising his hand in a threatening intimation of wanting to hit her. He makes no effort to lower his voice.
For four young male customers walking past, it’s almost too much to ignore. Almost. “Are you finished telling everybody about our problems?” David goads, before adding, cruelly, “Why did I marry you?”
The four men witness David shouting at his wife to move and calling her an idiot. They look long and hard at the discordant couple as they walk by. One man even slows down and looks, for a moment, as though he might intervene.
“This guy really wants to move in,” comments the show’s host John Quiñones, watching everything on security cameras from behind the scenes. But the young man ignores his instincts and walks away.
It’s not looking good for Lorraine, until 19-year-old Martina walks into earshot. She can’t stand what she’s hearing. After one particularly cruel comment, Lorraine walks away from David and Martina grabs her gently by the cuff. “Come here,” she says, quietly.
She pulls Lorraine discreetly to one side and asks the verbally battered wife if she is okay. Lorraine replies that she is, but Martina is not convinced. “Don’t let somebody talk to you like that,” the teen adds.
David’s next move throws a spanner in the works. He approaches the whispering women and wants to know what’s going on. He tries to retrieve his wife, but Martina has other ideas. “She’s not going,” the teen states bravely, all the time holding eye contact with the aggressive husband.
“Wow,” Quiñones comments from behind the scenes, clearly impressed. The clip, which showcases one of the show’s most powerful responses ever, was posted to Facebook, where it has been watched over 700,000 times.
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David throws his wife an additional insult, and says he’ll be waiting in the car. Lorraine makes moves toward her husband, despite Martina’s efforts to get her to stay. It’s Martina’s mom’s turn to make an appearance, now; she’s growing increasingly concerned for her daughter’s safety.
“I understand you want to help,” she says, “but you are a child.” Martina, 19 and fiercely motivated to stand up against injustice, disagrees. “I’m not a child anymore,” she retorts.
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When David returns again, impatient, Martina has the final word. “You’re not allowed to take her, because my dad’s a cop and he’s coming here, okay?” the courageous teenager exclaims.
Moments later, the veil slips; it’s a setup! Martina bursts into tears of relief. Lorraine locks her in a grateful bear hug and tells her thank you. “So many men,” she adds, “and you’re the only one who came to my defense!”
“Nobody deserves that,” Martina tells a sympathetic Quiñones. “Nobody was standing up for her, and she wasn’t standing up for herself.”
You guys asked for it and here it is…One of the most powerful reactions we have had all season and a must share! #WWYD
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When the show’s host asks Martina why she stood her ground and fought for Lorraine, the teen has a great response. “I was raised right, I guess!” she laughs, gazing lovingly at her mother and grandmother. We’ll say!
Share this young woman’s act of bravery with your family and friends, and inspire others to stick up for vulnerable people.