What should you do when you witness someone abusing someone else, but you’re in a retail establishment and the management won’t help you? While eating at an Eat’n Park last week, Myriad claims she watched a young woman repeatedly kick the elderly lady sitting with her, and when Myriad tried to intervene the girl threatened to punch Myriad in the face. Myriad says the manager refused to cooperate, only repeating that he knew the girl and that she was “very nice.”
Last week, I went to an Eat’N'Park with my stepfather. We were enjoying our lunch, when I overheard what the people sitting across from us were saying. A young woman with an ID badge was telling an older, semi-senile woman (perhaps in her 80s) things like “shut the #@$! up, don’t talk to me, I don’t want to hear anything from you.” I didn’t say anything; I didn’t want to get involved.
The older woman, having nobody to talk to, leaned across the table and started talking to me and my stepfather. We didn’t mind, and chatted with her for a minute; then the younger woman said, “Shut the @#$! up, nobody wants to hear what you have to say!” and KICKED the older woman under the table, really hard!
I tried to play it cool. I casually asked the woman if she was the daughter or granddaughter. She said no. I inquired to see if it was a volunteer opportunity (to find out the organization she worked with), and she was hostile and rude. I realized there wasn’t much of a way to get the information from her, so when she said it was none of my business, I said, “Well it IS my business to report abusive behavior that I see.” She then threatened to “punch me in my face” and “spit in my face.” We had an altercation; she began yelling and I did my best to stay calm. The manager came out and asked me to move–at first I thought it was rude because SHE was the one being violent and loud, but a few hours later, I realized it was probably because I was the calmer of the two. I said “No, I’m just going to finish and get out of here.” He said, “I know this girl, she’s very nice, she brings her in here every day to eat.” I said, “Well that’s because she’s PAID to bring her in here, but I heard her verbally abusing the elderly woman, AND I saw her kick her REALLY hard under the table!” A few other people at the restaurant nodded and agreed with me, telling the manager that I was telling the truth.
Then, while everybody was looking at me, I looked at the young and elderly women and saw the young woman KICK the old woman repeatedly under the table really hard while looking at me with what I can only describe as a “death glare.” The elderly woman leaned forward and quietly asked the younger woman to stop, and the younger woman didn’t, until I said, “LOOK! She’s doing it again!” She stopped the moment they all looked at her. The manager asked them to move and they did, with the younger woman glaring at me the entire time.
The manager then apologized and said he knew the woman, and that she was a “really nice person.” I said, do you know where she works? And he said yes. I said, well please tell me then, because I need to file a report about what she was doing to that elderly woman. He refused to tell me, citing that she was a good customer and, again, “a really nice person.”
I understand that he’d want to not risk losing a customer, or get in trouble, but I was really upset that he was completely unhelpful. I know this economy is rough, but I would rather lose my job than miss an opportunity to help save at least one woman from obvious abuse. I know not everybody is like that, but couldn’t he have just told me where the woman worked after she left?
Do you think this man was in the right or the wrong? I love Consumerist and I’d appreciate knowing what y’all think.
It’s a PITA to deal with, but I think if you truly feel you’re witnessing abusive behavior but can’t convince the store manager to act on it, you have to call the police. If you decide you must take action after the event, I’d suggest contacting a regional manager for Eat’n Park and explaining what happened. The manager you spoke with may not be the best judge of what’s happening if he’s friends with the girl.