I’m From Utah.

by Austin W.

Satellite overhead image of Utah from Google Earth 2022

In all fairness, it has been about six years since my story happened so bare with me if some parts do not have as much detail as others. What’s it about? Well it’s not a happy story but the situation could have been worse.

I would like to share the story of when I witnessed a friend of mine getting jumped by a group of guys because he was gay. Here’s how it all went down.

I was at an outside mall late one night in Orange County with three friends of mine. A lot of the shops and restaurants were closing so we decided to head out. Two of my friends, Mikey and Mark, were boyfriends and Robert was a friend of ours. We were walking to the car, Mikey and Mark in locked arms to back and shoulders, and a truck drives by and screams “Fags!” Since they didn’t stop or anything, we let it roll off our backs because we had a good night aside from that. Whatever, you know. Just as we were getting to the car, we noticed that the truck drives back around and they stop behind the car. At this point Robert and I were already in the car. Mark and Mikey were about to get in, but then Mark stops to watch what they were doing. The first guy jumps out and heads toward Mark.

Then a second guy jumps out and they both get in his face, pushing him against the door, pushing the car door closed. At this point I turn to Robert and ask if I should get out. Robert just looked at me unsure.

The first guy, if I remember correctly, had little to no hair on his head and the second guy was shorter in height but bulkier. Mind you, I was too preoccupied with wondering if I should start calling the cops, get out and help or what. It all happened so quickly that it felt almost unreal.

Considering Mark didn’t cower and tried to keep as cool-headed about it as possible, one of the guys after making fun of him punches him directly in the nose. Mark covered his head and tried to run, Mikey nearly froze and I found myself leaping out of the car.

In that moment, I had to decide if I was going to try and fight these guys, call the cops, or run for help. I couldn’t just abandon any of them and yet, I looked at the truck and I could hear others in the back of the truck but the windows were tinted. I thought to myself, “Please tell me they don’t have a gun.” But I had to do something.

So I decided to call the cops and shout for help, causing as much noise as possible. It took a moment to get someone on the phone which doesn’t seem like a long time but each second just felt crucially long while Mark is fighting off the guys, Mikey running to join in. I’m shouting for security and help and thankfully there was somebody walking by who also started shouting for us. A 911 operator came on the phone and I told him the license plate number of the truck as fast as I could and tried to describe the two guys. They noticed not only that there were witnesses aside from us but that I was also calling the cops, so they ran back into the truck and drove out of the parking lot. Security came shortly after that and we described everything while we waited for the police.

Thankfully, as grim as it may sound, Mark came out of it with just a broken nose, a cut just under one of his eyes and some bruises. I know that’s not exactly great but I was thankful that none of them had a gun or knife. Last I checked, the police found them and also found that they had stolen the truck. Mark is now fully healed and we stopped going to that mall.

I suppose the reason I wanted to share this is because as terrible as it may be, and not to scare anyone, it’s possible that any of us can experience that sort of situation. I had only a few moments to figure out what I was going to do and there are times where I wonder if I should have run to help fight them off instead. I really wanted to, believe me, but I suppose what I did turned out to work that night. I’m not saying it was the best action. All I’m saying is that there is also the possibility that people will come to your aid and have compassion toward our struggle.

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