November 30, 2021
A day out at Walmart turned into a nightmare for a deaf young lady after a stranger grabbed her shoulders and threatened she’d be fired if she didn’t do what was told.
Redditor CochlearCass was hard of hearing, but the people close to her knew what she was dealing with. Growing up, she mostly used sign language to communicate and assumed people around her would naturally understand she was deaf.
One day, she went to Walmart to wait for her friend to drop her home. Not knowing what to do alone, she browsed through the books on the shelves. She had turned off her hearing implants, so there was no way she could hear a pin drop behind her.
OP has a harrowing experience in Walmart | Photo: Shutterstock
The Original Poster (OP) hoped people wouldn’t mistake her for an employee there. She continued to check the books when she felt something awkward behind her. She explained:
“Being deaf, I didn’t hear anyone saying anything or even walking up behind me... I did, however, feel a finger tapping me on the shoulder.”
She turned around and saw a woman she’d never met before. Looking at her gestures, the OP knew the woman was talking to her but was clueless about what she said.
A stranger taps the OP's shoulder | Photo: Pexels
“I try to tell her I’m deaf, and I can’t hear her by pointing at my ear and shaking my head,” she added. The woman looked puzzled and reached out to the OP’s ears. She wrote:
“I later found out she thought I had headphones in and was trying to yank them out. So, I naturally recoil and back away.”
The woman was annoyed even more and started yelling. The OP could vaguely make out what she said but still couldn’t understand what was happening.
The OP tries explaining to the woman that she couldn't hear, but in vain | Photo: Pexels
“She was yelling, “Don’t act like you can’t hear me, you little [expletive]. You need to do what I say, or you’re fired!” yelled the woman. The OP walked away, but the woman immediately grabbed her shoulders and screamed at her, saying:
“Don’t walk away from me. I’m going to get your manager and get you fired!” She then starts yelling for a manager.”
The OP’s friend arrived and gestured, asking her what had happened. The OP told her she didn’t know, and their sign language annoyed the woman. She accused them of using gestures and claimed they planned to kill her.
The annoyed woman grabs the OP's shoulders | Photo: Pexels
Though the friend tried explaining the OP was hearing-impaired, the woman didn’t bother to listen. Just then, her son arrived and told her it was time to leave. But the woman yelled she wasn’t going anywhere.
It took the OP several months to step into Walmart by herself again.
A manager rushed shortly, and the woman accused the OP, saying she didn’t do her job. The manager told her she didn’t work there. But the lady refused to believe him. Meanwhile, the OP and her friend walked away silently.
The woman yells and refuses to let go of the OP | Photo: Pexels
On their way out, they saw the woman being escorted by the cops as she’d pushed one of the staff. When asked if she wanted to press charges against her, the OP denied it as she didn’t want to punish the boy for what his mom did.
After reading her post, people from the Reddit forum lashed out at the woman for being rude with the OP. User Kr_Treefrog2 said:
“Can you imagine if you had a cochlear implant or hearing aids when she grabbed your ears? I shudder to think of it. It amazes me how ignorant people are of the deaf community.”
The woman is escorted by the cops | Photo: Pexels
Some users emphasized the importance of understanding sign language to communicate with deaf people. The visual cues mainly help get the point across when paired with lip-reading, due to which the OP understood the lady yelled at her. Redditor fuzzyoctopus97 said:
"They always either run off or double down like this lady, thankfully it’s never escalated quite so far, but people really need to learn manners, and sign language."
It took the OP several months to step into Walmart by herself again. She claimed she was much less timid and never let people take advantage of her disability.
People advise on the importance of sign language to communicate better with deaf people | Photo: Pexels
What can we learn from this story?
Never mistreat deaf people: It is important never to mistreat people who have hearing problems. Every deaf person is different. They have different needs, strengths, and communication requirements for their daily lives.
If you enjoyed reading this story, then you’d like this one about how a bride and groom’s thoughtful gesture made a deaf guest burst into tears.
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