An Alarming Lack Of Concern

, , , , , | Right | June 30, 2020

One of my regular customers has a son with autism. Her son is fascinated with the date of Halloween, and he likes me because my birthday is on Halloween.

One day, he comes in with his mom, and right after he gives me his usual hug, the fire alarm goes off for testing. The boy covers his ears and screams, running behind my register to hide. He’s not in my way, but he is making a lot of noise to drown out the alarm.

Boy’s Mom:Oh! I am so sorry, [My Name]. He doesn’t like sudden and loud noises.”

Me: “It’s fine. The alarm won’t last long. He’s fine back here.”

A customer approaches and decides they need to involve themselves in the situation.

Customer: “You should be ashamed! All he needs is a good whipping.”

Boy’s Mom: “He has autism. Loud noises upset him.”

Customer: “Nonsense! Let me spank him! I’m in a hurry and he’s upsetting me. That’ll teach him.”

I stop scanning the mom’s items and move to block the entrance to get behind the register.

Me: “If you’re in such a hurry, we have self-checkouts. He’s fine where he is.”

The customer grumbles but goes away. A manager for the store has seen the incident.

Manager: “If she complains, I’ll let them know what happened.”

Finally, the alarm tests ended and the boy’s mom told me how to signal to him. I checked them out and he gave me a hug like nothing had happened and left. Turns out the lady did try to report me, but she blew the whole incident out of proportion and the manager just smiled and nodded. She was quite shocked to see I wasn’t fired.

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