Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Countering stereotypes of New HampshireBy JOE McQUAID
August 10. 2018 2:40PM
A BLACK AMERICAN and an American of Hispanic descent walk into a New Hampshire diner. (Stop me if you’ve heard this one.)
The way some people have tried to paint New Hampshire these days (94 percent white and most of us wearing sheets,) one might think the two men would be surrounded, refused service, and sent packing.
Or maybe not. Maybe State Police Major John Encarnacao’s uniform kept the ruffians at bay.
Perhaps the other diners thought that Wayne Jennings was his prisoner, although the big smile Wayne almost always wears, and the fact that he wasn’t wearing handcuffs, might have dissuaded them from that conclusion.
Wayne also happens to run the National Cultural Diversity Awareness Council here in New Hampshire, but he doesn’t carry a sign saying that.
Fact is, it was just two friends sharing breakfast at the Airport Diner in Manchester one morning. No big deal and certainly not out of place anywhere in New Hampshire.
Not that other diners didn’t notice, however. One certainly did. And she sent a note to the waitress, who passed it along to the major. It read:
“Please thank the young man in the uniform. My family appreciates all that he and his brothers do. Enjoy your breakfast and God bless.”
Included with the note was a $20.
Had I been there, I would have given the note-writer an immediate eye exam. Major Encarnacao is a “young” man?
The age thing aside, it was a nice gesture and, no surprise, the major donated the $20 to the Make-A-Wish New Hampshire foundation, to help a little boy named Silas get his wish for a new backyard. (It is spectacular.)
You can see a picture of Encarnacao and Jennings with this column. It is also on the State Police Facebook page. The two friends are smiling, as I am sure the patron with the $20 was. Ditto Silas and the Make-A-Wish folks.
Ditto me, when I heard the story.
Write to Joe McQuaid at Publisher@unionleader.com or on Twitter at @deucecrew.