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That Poor Child

, , , , , , | Right | April 20, 2022

I worked as a manager in a busy Boston shopping and tourist spot in the mid-1990s. The shop was three floors: two above ground, open to the public, and a floor below ground for employees accessible through two locked doors and a narrow spiral staircase. Outside of the door on the top level were public restrooms.

It was a very busy summer afternoon with at least 100 people in the store. A little boy standing in line with his family told his dad he had to pee. Dad ignored him. The boy told him several times, and still, Dad didn’t react. He got to the register where I was helping to expedite the checkout process.

Dad: “Do you have a bathroom?”

Me: “There is a public restroom in the hallway upstairs, just outside of the store exit.”

Dad: “No. He needs your bathroom. He can’t wait.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but our employee bathrooms are not accessible on this floor, and for safety reasons, I cannot bring you below. The public restrooms are just upstairs, though.”

Dad: “Are you telling me you are ignoring the needs of a little boy due to ‘safety’?”

He did finger quotes as he said this.

Me: “Yes, sir, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

It went on for a few more seconds until the dad grabbed the kid who desperately needed to pee at this point and left to use the restroom. I checked out the rest of his family, who were embarrassed by the confrontation, and I was in the middle of checking out the next person in line when Dad came back into the store, dragging his child, who was crying and in wet pants. The father started screaming at me.

Dad: “He pissed himself! Are you happy, you dumb b****? This is all your fault! He pissed himself like a f****** baby!”

At this point, the customer who I was checking out spoke up.

Customer: “Are you joking? Your child told you he had to pee while we were still standing back there—” *gestures to where the line is stretched back at least ten people away* “—and you did nothing. You tried to bully this poor woman into breaking rules instead of just saying thank you and taking your kid to the bathroom. And now you’re humiliating him at the same time as trying to blame her? Your bathroom emergency was not her fault!”

It was a great moment made better when the dad started arguing with the customer. He started threatening violence, so one of my employees grabbed an officer patrolling outside to intervene. The officer told the angry dad:

Officer: “Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency for anyone else.”

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