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Customer Reject of the Day: Kale Never Stood a Chance

Bad Parents: RHUer Asks For Advice On How To Help If Someone Is Beating A Child In Public


Carolanne omgFrom: Katie

Working on register, I witnessed a man beat his daughter.

The girl was standing across the aisle, looking at gum. I heard him say her name and when she didn't immediately move, he grabs her by her ponytail, threw her against the counter, and when she fell, he kicked her.

When she tried to get back up, he punched her and kicked her again. All the while yelling at her to "listen when I talk to you!"

I came out from behind the counter. got between him and the girl and told him if he laid another hand on her, he'd have to go through me.

At this point a manager arrived on the scene, and I was taken to the back room.

I was told that I was not allowed to interfere, and that because of me, the child would probably get a worse beating when she got home! I was made to feel that if that child got hurt, or worse, killed by her father, that it would be MY fault for interfering!

I couldn't just stand there! They never directly threatened my job, but they made me feel REALLY bad for doing something! I never heard any more about it after that, so I don't know if I was actually "formally" written up or anything.

How can a worker help in such a situation? 




Account Deleted

Go between them, but have a phone out and call 911 during? I would say, go between them, grab the kid and hide in the backroom, where the parent can't get to, but that MIGHT result in them sueing you for kidnapping (hey, I've heard weirder stuff) cause you don't know the kid or told her what was going on.

Did you ask the manager what you were supposed to do? Also, oh yay, if you don't interefere, yeah, the kid may be beaten but... hey, at least it won't be WORSE. Right? ...right?


While I am NOT saying what you (Katie) did was wrong, or what he was doing was right... your manager is probably correct. "You (the daughter) embarassed me in front of people".

I would probably have done the same as you, with the phone call as GN mentioned.


I would have done the same, with a phone call to the police, and no, I would not have thought about it being a case of worrying if the child would get worse later because she would have been going back with social workers. We would have had cctv footage to show them and I am pretty damn certain my managers would have been standing right there with me. They both have kids and would I have probably have to hold them back from his throat myself by the time the old Bill arrived.


You did the right thing, except you should still call the police. Ideally, as mentioned above, you or another staff member (or customer, pretty much any human being in the vicinity) would call the police right away while a second person protected the child. If no one else were available, you'd try to do both, or if you couldn't protect the kid you could call the cops quietly while taking down identifying info like the license plate of the car they get into and the name on their credit card.

Please pass all the information you can get together on to the cops. If a child is being abused, it's not your fault if they get beaten "worse" later any more than it's really the child's fault they are receiving the beating- it's the parent's excuse for it, and if you weren't the excuse they'd find another. Nothing on the outside is really going to make it "worse" but helping the kid get out of that situation could sure as hell make it better. Even if your single report isn't enough, it could be part of a pattern of reports that end up being used to remove the kid from that man's custody. Please, please report it. It's none of your manager's business- this isn't about work, it's about being a human being with a heart. And your manager is an idiot and a cowardly asshole.

yo auntie

Having grown up in an abusive household, I agree that confronting the abuser will almost always result in further abuse. I will admit, however, to taking customer information and (after a small delay to disguise my actions) calling it in to the anonymous child abuse hotline. This sort of thing can get you fired, but it feels worth it to me.

Now that I own my store, besides doing the above (twice in the past two years), I usually comment gently, "What a lovely and intelligent girl. My husband and I were never blessed with children." I don't know if it helps to put things into perspective for the parents, but at least the child hears me saying that children are a blessing.

Account Deleted

yo auntie, the thing is... I'm pretty sure you'd still get further abuse, even if nobody interferred before. As you say with having personal experience, it's easy to know that the abuse doesn't stop. And as Persephone said, they don't need an excuse to beat you (worse). They take anything.

Course, what we'd all LIKE to do is karata chop the guy unconscious ourselves or leap heroically from behind the cash register, defy gravity by flying through the air and landing a nice knee to the neck of the guy, but... unfortunately can't.

But I agree, it'd totally be worth losing a job over. At least you'd have a damn good story to tell in your interview. (Hopefully with an interviewer who thinks what you did was right)

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