my thoughts on motherhood, kids, books and stuff

An Unfortunate Run In At The Dollar Store

A stranger yelled, “SHUT UP!” in my baby’s face tonight.

We were at a very crowded dollar store and I was checking out. Kai was sitting in the cart and getting restless so Luca walked him up to the front of the store to wait with him. He was fussing a bit, but it was a fake bored cry, not screaming or sobbing and it wasn’t even very loud.IMG_1012

I dropped some cards out of my wallet and as I bent to pick them up I hear a very loud and angry voice yell, “SHUT UP!”. I look up and see a woman with her face inches from Kai’s stunned little face. I didn’t get a good look at her, but I remember that she looked angry and her face was red.

The front section of the store went silent and I heard several gasps. Three of those gasps were my other young kids that were standing near Kai at the time.

My adrenaline kicked in and the woman was already walking out the door as I yelled, “Excuse me!! That is MY baby you are talking to!” I could feel my face get hot and my heart started pounding in my ears. I was mad.

“Then make him stop” she yelled over her shoulder as she walked out the door.

“He is TWO years old!” I screamed at her as the door shut behind her.

I am not a screamer. I hate confrontation. I hate fighting. I hate drama, and I especially hate to be a part of drama.

Kai was surprisingly un-phased by the whole incident. He did get quiet, but he didn’t get scared or sad or upset.

My other kids did.

“Mom! Did you hear that lady tell Kai to shut up!?”

“Mom, that lady was mean! Why did she yell at Kai?!”

“I am glad you yelled at that mean lady mom!”

“Is Kai okay? I don’t like that mean person!”

They had worried looks in their eyes. I don’t know if it stunned them more to see a stranger yell at their baby brother or to see their mom yell back.

The checkout lady in the next aisle looked over to me and quietly said, “I think she wasn’t all there” as she pointed to her head.

It hit me pretty suddenly that she was exactly right and I calmed down rather quickly. In fact, I was shocked at how easily I got over it and I actually felt rather stupid for yelling back and not taking a minute to assess the situation.

The woman clearly had some mental health issues. It didn’t give her the right to yell at a two year old, but if I had taken a moment to think or if I could go back I would do things a little differently.

I wish I had thought to run over to her and gently tell her that I didn’t appreciate her talking to my child that way and ask her to apologize to him. He knows what “I’m sorry” means.

I could feel everyone looking at me as I quickly gathered up my bags and my kids and hurried them out the door to the van. They were excited and loud and telling me I should call Brett right away, call the police, or go find her and beat her up. I buckled them all in the car and we shut the doors (and locked them) and we had a little talk about how people are different and some people, even adults, have a hard time knowing just how to act around other people and sometimes say and do things because they are uncomfortable or nervous. I don’t know that they really got it, but they calmed down a bit.

The kids were all anxious for Brett to get home tonight and as soon as he walked in the door they fought about who got to tell him about it.

What did I learn from this unsettling experience?

-My kids love each other and will stick up for each other when needed.

-Don’t mess with my kids. I may not like confrontation, but…just don’t mess with my kids.

-Sometimes if we wait a second before reacting we might gain enough new information to handle things better. I would have.

-Someone yelling in a baby’s face can silence a store crowded with holiday shoppers. Good. It should be shocking.

-I get over things a lot faster than I used to.

-I know now that if anyone lays a hand on one of my children I will not be afraid to beat the living daylights out of them. For a second I thought she might and I was ready to charge.

-Kai is one fearless little guy.

  • andrea

    Crazy. I'm glad you did something. It's always hard in the situation. It's always after that I think of what to do. But crazy or not, she should not be doing that to anyone.

  • henkewar

    Don't second guess yourself, you did fine by yelling back. You showed your kids it's okay to stand up and defend yourself and loved ones against bullies! It's not like you flew across the store and took her out with a flying tackle (although that might have been interesting too). I'm glad to hear you yelled out and spoke your mind…you don't do that enough anyways (neither do I) 😉

  • shantelsurvey

    If I was in that situation I think I would have the same thing (at least I hope I would). You really never know what a person may do when they are that angry (not you, Her) and your kids now know you are always going to stand up for them!

  • I think you handled it remarkably well. I think asking her to apologize might likely have escalated things. I love that you were able to turn into a teaching moment, but still, how scary. I'm glad she didn't get physical.

  • Ry

    I'm proud of ya sis! Even if the lady wasn't all there mentally, it helps reinforce in your kids minds that they are protected. And even if she wasn't all there mentally, the lady still needs other people to react in appropriate ways to help her understand what is appropriate behavior.

    Another good thing your kids learned was that in situations that feel dangerous, it is ok to speak up. Remember your old “safety kids” tapes?

    ” Sometimes you just gotta yell and scream….sometimes it's the only thing to do….yell out like a fire truck, you just gotta open up….and get the crowds attention turned to you!”

    You must have listened to that tape hundreds of times, honestly… were prepared for this moment from the time you were 5 years old! 🙂

  • It seems like things always happen at the dollar store. Once my mom, Ande, and I were at the dollar store and there was a silly old couple there. They were looking in the arts and crafts section and the lady pulls up a case of five small things of thread and said “Man, do I have to buy all of these when I just need one color?” (dollar store) and the old man said “Well, here let me open it up for you and we'll take the color you need”. I couldn't believe it!
    Then later on we were getting ready to check out and the man said “what's her name?” and we replied “Ande” and he flipped out saying “Thats a mans name!”
    We then explained it was spelled A-N-D-E and he said “Oh, one of those”. He had a snobby tone to his voice.
    Some people aren't very nice. I think everything has to be handled at an individual basis. Sounds like something that was appropriate to happen.

    • Whoops, I was talking about your situation in the last sentence or so. I forgot to proof read!

  • Very interesting scenario in human relations. In that situation, I might have gone red-line pretty quickly and asked questions later. I'm guessing this story will be around family lore for some time.

  • I love this because it has me thinking how I would react. I'm not so sure.

  • grandmahenke

    Hey! Where is she? Nobody picks on my baby and grand baby!

  • Maryanne

    Holeeeee cow!! What a weird experience. It makes me feel sad for Kai and your other kids who saw all of it but also for the woman who yelled at him. Although sounds like you learned some good things out of it :o)

  • That is nuts! Quite literally! I am sure I would have reacted the same way or probabley worse! I always enjoy reading your blog, you are such a good storyteller!

  • That is nuts! Quite literally! I am sure I would have reacted the same way or probabley worse! I always enjoy reading your blog, you are such a good storyteller!

  • Anonymous

    That is a mean lady. Kai did nothing wrong.