Deaf Employee Punched By Customer Because She Didn't Hear Her Ask For Help
Let's say you're shopping and you can't find what you're looking for. Naturally you find a uniformed employee and ask them where said item is, right?
Now depending on where you shop and the quality of the staff, they'll either know exactly where the item is or look around aimlessly and point in the entirely wrong direction at the other side of the store.
In the event an employee just straight-up ignores you, you'd probably try repeating your question and, if you think they're just not paying attention to you, either just give up and ask someone else, or, if you were really peeved, you'd tattle on them to the floor manager.
You probably wouldn't punch a retail worker out of nowhere, right?
Well that's apparently what happened to Liberty Gratz while she was working at a Publix in Midlothian, Virginia.
Here's the thing: Gratz had a perfectly reasonable excuse for not responding to the customer's query immediately, and that's because Gratz is deaf.
"All of a sudden, I felt some woman hit me in my back," Gratz said with her mother, Jeanette, translating.
Liberty was adjusting some items on a bottom shelf, absorbed in her work, before she was struck by the unknown woman. After she was hit she was disoriented and still helped the customer find the item she was looking for.
Hours after the attack, Liberty still felt the effects of the blow.
"She could still feel it when I picked her up from work. How would you feel if you were working and someone just came up behind you and decided to punch you?" Her mother, Jeanette said.
Both Liberty and her twin brother were born with Usher syndrome, a condition that primarily affects vision and hearing. Not that the young woman needs an excuse to not be hit by some random customer, but in addition to having difficulty hearing, her peripheral vision isn't the best, either.
Liberty told other employees what happened after the attack and although they tried finding the culprit and were able to pinpoint her in security footage, her identity is still up in the air.
Here's the kicker though: Jeanette and Liberty don't sound like they're looking to press charges against the woman. In fact, they just want to have a conversation with her and find out why she acted the way she did.
"I know hurt people usually are the ones that hurt people. And so whoever it is, they've been prayed for. I will continue to pray for them, and I hope that things get better in their life so they can be better to other people." Jeanette told KETV.
People were appalled by the attack and immediately sent messages of support to Liberty and her family.
Many are sharing the story on social media and using it as a means of starting a conversation on inclusion rights and our treatment of disabled workers.
Liberty speaks with her family members in sign language (ASL), and carries a notepad with her that she writes on to communicate with customers in the store.
Had the customer been a bit more patient and not just punched a stranger because they didn't have their question asked quickly enough, Liberty would've been happy to assist her (which she ultimately did anyway).
Instead of a sad story like this one, we could've had a great success story like this Starbucks employee who used sign language to take a deaf person's order.
Or this kid who took sign language as an elective and surprised a deaf Taco Bell customer by taking their order.
There's also this awesome Uber driver who lets passengers know of their disability, but it doesn't stop them from going above and beyond to provide excellent customer service.
There are several groups pushing for disability inclusion in the workforce, like EARN. If any good can come of Liberty's story, at least it can help bring greater awareness to the treatment of disabled workers in the workplace.
I still can't believe she helped the woman after getting attacked by her, to be honest. That's Jesus-like levels of tolerance right there. (h/t wric)