Transitioning To Some New Protocols  

, , , , | Working | February 4, 2020

(I am working part-time at a large department store. A coworker brings up what looks like an eight- to ten-year-old with a very feminine face, but their hair is cut above their ears and they are wearing typical boy clothing, including a button-down shirt.)

Me: “Lost child?”

Coworker: “Yep. Need the intercom.”

Me: “Sure.” *to the child* “Hi. You okay?”

Child: “I lost my dad!”

Me: “I’m so sorry. This nice lady is going to announce that he’s lost his little… uh… kid?”

Child: “I’m a boy! And my dad’s a man!”

Me: “Okay.”

Coworker: *to me* “Don’t be silly; that’s a girl. Look at her face.”

Me: “He says he’s a boy, so he’s a boy.”

Coworker: “Well, I’m announcing ‘lost girl.’”

Child: “Boy! I am a boy! If my dad can be a man, I can be a boy, too!”

Me: “Uh, how about announcing ‘lost child’?”

Coworker: “We’re not supposed… fine.”

(She does announce “child.”)

Coworker: “So, what’s your name?”

Child: “[Boy’s Name].”

Coworker: “Yours, not your dad’s.”

Me: “He’s a boy.”

Coworker: *to me* “We’ll talk later.”

(We entertain the boy and it becomes more evident that his dad is trans and he is questioning; my coworker keeps frowning about it.)

Walkie-Talkie: “We may have the mother of the lost child.” *in background* “Father!” *foreground* “Says the boy’s name is [Boy’s Name].”

Coworker: *stares at me and snatches her walkie* “Yes, we have [Boy’s Name] at the third-floor customer service.”

Walkie-Talkie: “Sending the parent over.”

(The dad who arrives is barely five feet tall, and also has a feminine face, short hair above the ears, and typical male clothing with a button-down shirt, as well. He’s also wearing a backpack with LGBT flags on the front straps.)

Child: “Daddy!” *runs and jumps on him*

Dad: *with a slightly high voice* “I’m here. Where did you run off to?”

Child: *just clings on him*

Dad: “Thank you so much, ladies. And thanks for accepting him being a boy.”

Me: “No problem, mister. And I’m not a lady; I’m a human.”

Dad: “Oh, nice! Take care.”

Me: “Take care, as well.”

(I turn and see my coworker crossing her arms and frowning.)

Coworker: “That was ridiculous.”

(In the end, it got to management. They said in the case police needed to be involved, what’s legal would be the way to go, but they understood that they didn’t have proper internal protocols for this situation. But they acknowledged that the fact that the child and parent gave the same name is good enough.)

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