Charges Filed Against Bed, Bath & Beyond Manager Who Refused To Allow 911 Call

Police have charged Elizabeth Miller, the manager of the Bed, Bath & Beyond in Lexington, Kentucky, who refused to let a couple use the store’s phone to call 911 to report a three-year-old locked in a van, and refused to make an announcement over the store’s PA system. The charge is “failure to report dependency, neglect and abuse, a Class B misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of 90 days and a maximum fine of $250.”

The county attorney quoted in the Kentucky Lexington Leader-Herald article points out that common decency should always trump any store policy, misinterpreted or not. In fact, it’s the law!

First Assistant Fayette County Attorney Brian Mattone told the Herald-Leader Thursday that under the duty-to-report statute, everyone has the duty to report dependency, neglect and abuse of a child if they have knowledge of it. Mattone said prosecutors thought that Miller, through witnesses, had knowledge of possible abuse or neglect. Moreover, there is language in the statute that says “nothing should relieve their obligation to report,” Mattone said.

The article also quotes another shopper who says she received a similar response from a different Bed, Bath & Beyond last summer when she saw a dog locked inside a car. Here’s hoping that the company’s “we’re ashamed this happened” response is authentic, and that their employees learn that it’s okay to offer help sometimes.

“Store clerk charged with failing to help child locked in van” [Herald-Leader] (Thanks to Michael and Donald!)
(Photo: Morton Fox)