The client and companion got out of their vehicle and let us know right away they did not speak English and asked if I spoke Spanish. I do not and regret it frequently. The escort with me only speaks a few phrases in Spanish. We were able to communicate through a combination of hand gestures, simple phrases and one-word comments that we were there to help them to the clinic.
We were joined immediately by antis pressing up against them talking non-stop in English. I let them know when they started talking the client and companion only spoke Spanish. That was ignored. Their logic was sure the client could understand their words.
One anti was at least 6 inches taller than the client I was walking beside. He loomed over her, pressing literature into her hand and constantly talking about what he thought she should do.
I finally looked at him and said, “Do you speak Spanish? If you don’t you are wasting your words because she doesn’t speak English.” The response was, “We can get an interpreter,” and continued harassing her in English. He was secure in the belief that if he just talked more and louder, she would suddenly be able to understand English.
We managed to get to the clinic door with a combination of single words, gestures and ignoring the chaos around us. It can be overwhelming to enter into the chaos on the sidewalk for any client. Imagine if you could not understand what was being said to you by the people surrounding you.