As the old saying goes, "Evil happens when good men do nothing." Jason Gordon and Travis Verrill definitely earned the title of "good men" after they confronted a man who placed racist signs around their town of Norway, Maine.
The racist signs began appearing a few weeks after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
After seeing pictures of the signs on social media, Jason called Travis to tell him about them and they decided to handle the issue themselves.
They later described the confrontation in a video posted to social media. The video contains graphic language, so be warned. But, as you will see, it comes from a good place.
Warning: this video contains profanity that may be unsuitable for younger audiences.
After learning about the signs, Jason drove Travis over to confront a man named Richard who was sitting on a park bench who they were told put up the signs. After speaking with Richard, Travis learned that they were both veterans of the 101st Airborne division of the Army.
Richard is a Vietnam vet who appeared to be around 70.
Using their shared military past as a way to bond, Travis tried to "talk some sense into him." Unfortunately, the man wasn't receptive to his message.
"I tried to tell him that his ways were wrong," Travis said. "I tried to say that these fucking signs right here were wrong," he said pointing to a sign in his hand.
Travis soon learned he wasn't going to change the man's mind, but told him that "we ain't gonna tolerate this shit around here. I got better things to do with my time."
Both men are business owners. Travis owns a flooring business and Jason a plumbing and heating company.
Travis warned anyone in his town that if they posted any more signs that he was going to "knock on your door."
Travis believes that the recent reckoning America is having with race is a wake-up call for people to change their ways. "Understand, in your brain, that shit ain't the way it used to be," he said. "You have to adapt."
The video went viral, receiving over five million views. Even though Travis wasn't able to change the old man's mind, he was able to use the situation to spread a message of tolerance. "I knew I wasn't going to change his heart," Travis told WGME. "I knew his ways of thinking weren't going to be different when he woke up. I just wanted the signs down."
The video is heartwarming because it's nice to see two self-declared "working guys" standing up for racial justice and doing it in their own way. "If every town had two guys that did the same thing, it would be a lot better world," Jason told Military.
"If you honestly want to leave a better place for your children than what you came into, you gotta get out here right now and do something about it," Travis said.
The two are happy they could get their message out to such a wide audience, although Travis has one regret. "We had no idea this was going to go this far; I would've used better language," he admitted.
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