‘I’m An Old Lady’ Is Not A Good Enough Excuse For Smacking Someone Else’s Child In The Checkout Line

135221718The elderly can be quirky. I know this, because my mom lives in a retirement community condo and some of these older ladies have no filter whatsoever. Most of the time I just brush it off and think, “If I live more than eighty years on this earth I’m going to say and do whatever I want!” That’s what I thought until I read this story about an elderly woman who smacked another woman’s child in a checkout line because she thought the child was misbehaving. You don’t get a pass for that. I don’t care how old you are.

An Australian mother was shopping in her local supermarket when an elderly woman smacked her four-year-old daughter, Sophia:

“Sophia was in the trolley with her younger sister when I was paying for the shopping,” Debbie said. ”She dropped her shoe out of the trolley onto the ground and an elderly lady behind us in the queue picked it up and put it back in the trolley.

“Sophia would have thought that was great because she engaged with somebody, so she picked up the shoe and threw it onto the ground again.

“That’s when the lady smacked her on the arm and said ‘That’s naughty, you’ve been told not to do that’.

When the mother told the older lady that she shouldn’t touch someone else’s child, the woman excused her own actions by blaming the mother – basically telling her that if she would hit her child more the general public wouldn’t have to. Someone with the lady tried to apologize, but the elderly lady “told her to be quiet.”

The child has Down Syndrome and was shocked but did not cry. The mother thinks it was actually a pretty hard smack, but says her daughter “doesn’t feel pain the way other children do, she has a very high pain threshold” so she just looked at her mother, surprised.

I can’t even imagine how I would react if someone put their hands on my child. I don’t care how old this lady is, there is no excuse for putting your hands on another human, let alone a child. The ornery old lady routine only goes so far. No one is going to call the cops on an old lady, but sheesh. She’s the one that needs to be taught a lesson.

(photo: Getty Images)

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    • Andrea

      No one? I would call the cops on ANYONE that smacks my kid! I don’t give a fuck how old they are.

      • Guest

        Old lady or not I’m surprised the mom didn’t punch her.

    • TwentiSomething Mom

      I’ve seen in public places older people get very rough with other people’s disabled children. One time on the bus a large woman was upset that a girl with Down’s Syndrome’s coat was rubbing against hers and kept yelling at her don’t touch me! then elbowed her in the chest.

      You better believe she ran off that bus the next stop.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        She may well have done that to any kid, not necessarily a Down’s syndrome one.

    • Guest

      While I get the desire to smack someone else’s kid who is acting a fool you certainly don’t do it. (I mean unless they were assaulting my kid or something then open up the whoop ass can) Also, this kid wasn’t doing anything particularly crazy. So she throws the shoe again leave it on the ground. Let mom come pick it up and deal with her. Super simple.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      There goes MY excuse for pretty much everything

    • igottagetoutmore

      I would hope that the authorities got involved. Maybe the old woman has cognitive impairment that was not in the article?

      Nobody should put their hands on anyone else. Although having said that, I would be so tempted to punch that old bag in the face if she slapped my kid.

    • SmrtGrl86

      Not one for physical violence but I probably would have slapped that old ladies hand and asker her if her mother ever taught her to keep her hands to herself. Mean old bitch.

    • SA

      God, I would have probably been arrested for tackling the old lady and beating her head into the ground. I think the elderly get a pass because you don’t know if they may have some type of dementia.

      • SmrtGrl86

        I have an asshole grandma who pretends to be crazy to get away with being a rude, insulting bitch. If they are out in public, without a keeper and driving they are an adult and fair fucking game.

      • Andrea

        Preach it sister!

      • Aldonza

        I think we have the same grandmother! She brags about play the “LOL Card” (That’s Little Old Lady Card). It’s gross.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Or they’re an adult who has dementia that hasn’t been diagnosed yet. Like my dad was for a time. A single adult or one whose spouse is not so with it anymore, or whose children aren’t right nearby. Dementia can go undetected for a while. And it often makes very nice people very very mean. Like my dad. No one gives you a brain scan to get your license renewed so it’s entirely possible to be out and about alone and quite undetected.

      • Gangle

        The old lady was with a paid carer.

      • SmrtGrl86

        Guess she better keep a closer eye on her charge then?

      • Gangle

        I would agree with that statement, yes.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Yes! thanks for being aware of this possibility!

    • Robotic Arms Dealer

      If we lived in a world where you can smack someone for acting bad, I’d have bruises everywhere :(

    • quinn

      If that was me, someone would have left that store with a broken hip..

    • Andy

      If she had slapped my child, she would have drawn back a bloody stump. I’m a pretty level person, but my mama bear is a touch insane >:)

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        dementia. Alzheimers.

      • Aubrey

        so keep her the F**K away from public places!

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Yeah, that’s a totally valid solution for someone who’s lost their mind due to old age diseases. Little old ladies totally deserve that too.

      • Aubrey

        And little girls with Down Syndrome deserve to be slapped!? Seriously? Flawed logic. Eew.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        No. Just, it’s not exactly fair to assume that that’s why she’s slapped. Read the original article. It’s completely click-bait. The old woman was never interviewed nor do they even know who she is. How can they presume to know her motives, too?

    • candi514

      I would have hit the old lady. I don’t care who you are, if you hit my child or my nephews I will break you.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      If anyone is ever having a bad day and feeling down about themselves, take a moment to remind yourself that at least you’re not an asshole who hits kids who have Down’s Syndrome.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Something about this article is bothering me so much. (Clearly
        because I have like a billion comments on it). But this website, if
        anything, is usually devoted to jumping all over people who judge. Kid
        acting up in a restaurant? Could have Autism; parents need a break. Mom
        pushing waaaay old kid in stroller? Could be the kid has a non-visible
        disability. These are actual arguments I have seen on here. And I always
        respect that.

        But you’re all talking “momma bear” and “asshole” and “call the
        police” and “I’d smack her” about an 80 year old lady. A huge amount of
        the elderly (and not so elderly) population are out and about with
        dementia and Alzheimer’s. According to the original article, the elderly
        woman had someone with her (a child or other carer) who tried to
        apologize, and the woman told this carer to be quiet, too. SHE HAD
        SOMEONE WITH HER TO HELP HER. Clearly she is not in her right mind. It
        doesn’t matter that the child happened to have Down’s Syndrome. She
        probably does not understand that. It’s quite likely that she
        understands very little anymore.

        My coworker’s mother has Alzheimer’s. She used to be very quiet and
        shy. Now she runs up to strangers in stores and pets their children’s
        faces and ruffles their hair. My father, who used to be sweet, rants at
        everyone and tries to run over people in his way with his wheelchair
        (not exaggerating). These are not fun diseases. I am not proud of this
        internet community today, and that’s the first time I’ve felt that.

      • ElleJai

        Just because she had someone with her doesn’t automatically mean she wasn’t in her right mind. My grandma was in her right mind for all but the last month, yet someone would go with her to carry things etc.

        I will give her the benefit of the doubt for you though until someone can identify the erm… “lady”… And we see if she’s demented or just cantankerous.

      • SmrtGrl86

        If the article came out and said a demented old lady hit a kid because she’s confused the response would be different. I know several elderly people in their right mind that use age as a get out of jail free card. Obviously no one is going to smack around an old lady with Alzheimer’s out with a caretaker. However, I would highly reconsider taking a physically violent confused person out in public and letting then interact much, that’s a pretty big risk to be taking. I work in health care, lots of people have experience with these awful diseases, if that old lady was ill what happened was sad, if she’s not ill she’s an asshole, if she was out with a caretaker who allowed the situation to escalate the caretaker was negligent. Either way you can’t run around automatically excusing people hitting small children because something “might” be wrong with them.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Yeah, the original article is completely biased and has pictures of the family of the child with Down’s syndrome. It’s a random lady; they don’t know who it was and didn’t bother to find out before they went public and were interviewed about it. It’s funny because people on this website are usually pretty quick to excuse other disabilities or even the thought that someone might have one. There’s nothing about the old lady at all; they just assume she’s a bitch, which I guess is why it bothers me. They could have bothered to find her before they publicly shamed her.

      • SmrtGrl86

        A lot of assumptions going both ways, the article is biased. Who even know exactly how old the woman in question even actually was. Mostly it’s click bait. I try to be very patient with the elderly but I do draw the line at a child’s safety. An elderly lady in a bathroom got irate with me when I refused to let her touch my nephew as a baby. He was premature and she just got done taking a very noisy, smelly bowel movement and wanted to love on him before washing her hands. She also had very long finger nails with lots of grossness under them. Could she have had dementia? Probably. But I won’t have her making a baby sick just to be polite either.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        I totally understand what you’re saying and agree that the article is complete click-bait. And no, I wouldn’t have let that person touch the baby either.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        The article spends a lot of time centering itself on how the old woman purposely attacked the child because she had Down’s Syndrome. That’s a lot of assuming.

      • tk88

        “She had someone with her” does not imply she has something wrong with her, or that the person was there to take care of her. Perhaps they were there to drive her, help her carry heavy groceries or…just spending the day with her! Heck, “the person with her” could have even been another elderly individual, it doesn’t say. There’s nothing in this article that says there’s anything wrong with the old woman. In fact, I think your post is rather prejudiced against senior citizens. Just because someone is older doesn’t mean that they’re demented or have something seriously wrong with their mind. I’m very sorry you’ve known older people whose minds went downhill, but that’s not everyone. Also, where does it say she was 80 years old? You’re totally making that number up, because it doesn’t even say they IDENTIFIED the woman. So…she could be anywhere from her late 60s-90s. What this woman did was wrong, plain and simple. No, she shouldn’t be injured herself, but she definitely deserves a reprimand for smacking a stranger’s special needs child.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Mariah says 80 in the first paragraph, which, apparently, is unrelated to the age of the person. Seriously, though, I don’t think all old people have dementia. But I don’t think all old people are mean bastards who hit special needs kids for no reason either. I’m biased because I’d like to give the elderly person the benefit of the doubt? Which would you prefer:old and evil, or maybe not 100% with it?

      • tk88

        I think it’s more realistic to think of her as an older person who has little to no patience for small children, old fashioned ideas about discipline, and possibly even special needs people. I think it’s prejudiced against older people to give her “the benefit of the doubt” which is assuming she is demented. I think she did something mean and uncalled for. Also, just because someone does something wrong doesn’t mean they’re evil. Everyone does bad things sometimes. It’s part of being human. But being elderly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have to face up to the bad choices you make.

    • AmazingAsh

      Everyone wanted that man’s head on a platter when he slapped the boy on the plane in Atlanta. How is this any different? That man was 60 and the article doesn’t state specifically how old this woman was. NO ONE should be putting their hands on a stranger’s child.

      • Andrea

        Not that I am excusing, but that man was flying to Atlanta because his child had just died. Again, not an excuse, but better than “I’m an old bitch”.

      • Book_love

        However, he also called the child the n-word. I’m not on either of these people’s sides, they are both horrible.

      • AmazingAsh

        And this old bat hit a child with Downs Syndrome. I fail to see how that’s even the least bit better.

      • Janok Place

        Slapping a child with down syndrome for “misbehaving” in public (My child plays this game too, and if you don’t want to play leave the damn shoe and I’ll grab it on my way out)… But “I’m old” is a weak excuse compared to “I’m flying to my son’s funeral, I’m plastered and grief ridden.” Don’t get me wrong, he deserved what he got. This old bitch didn’t deserve a pass either.

      • AmazingAsh

        Agreed! He was actually on his way to say his last goodbyes to his son before pulling the life support from what I heard. Does not excuse his behavior, but if they threw the book at him, this little old lady deserved the same.

      • afrokhaleesi

        But… why are you comparing the two in the first place? They’re totally different situations. An old woman hitting a child who she may or may not have known had Down Syndrome versus an old man hitting a baby for crying, and also calling them the n word? Neither is right, but they’re very different, and it’s very unfair to compare the two and it’s offensive for you to even suggest that slapping a toddler in the face out of pure racism and smacking a 4 year old’s arm out of ~disciplinary reasons~ are anywhere near the same thing.

        I’m not saying either is excusable, but really, it’s not fair to compare the two. I mean they happened in two different countries, in two very different contexts, but you’re pulling up a racist incident to compare to this, and not seeing the many ways in which that’s actually not an ok thing to do? Ouch. :/

      • Shelly Lloyd

        I seemed to recall that he also called the little boy a racial slur. I think that was one of the reasons he got so much vitriol from the public. It wasn’t just that he hit a child, he hit him and called him slur that we usually wouldn’t even call an adult.

    • blh

      I’d slap an old lady if they hit my kid lol. I don’t care if they’re old.

    • Rachel Sea

      I’d call the cops on an old lady, I don’t give a damn how old you are, you keep your hands to yourself.

      That said, I do look forward to being 80 so that when my crazy neighbors start fighting or screaming obscenities at their kids I can spray them with the hose, and get away with it.

    • Lee

      I think everyone has covered what I would say about this old bat but I have to say I LOVE that everyone here is using people first language!

    • Gangle

      I live in the city where this happened. Poor little Sophia! Absolutely the woman was waaaay out of line for slapping a little child (especially one who wasn’t even playing up), and Sophias mother did the right thing and confronted her. But I do wonder if the old trout may have been suffering from dementia?

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Yeah, my Dad has dementia. And in its early stages (when he could still formulate sentences in under a minute) it was very hard to tell he had it. In fact, we didn’t for a while. He just got…mean. Which is very unlike him. Now he’s so mean and cantankerous he’s an embarrassment to have out in public. (We take him out but it’s verrrry difficult. I can see him doing something like this.) That is not “my dad” at all. All these people harping all over this lady need to maybe ponder that.

      • Gangle

        I know what you are saying. My grandfather on my dads side was the same. He became cantankerous as well when his dementia started.. and especially frustrated with children, to the point where we made a point of not taking the children to visit him (which suited everyone just fine) to save him, us and the kids all that stress. Visits out for him would be my dad driving him around farms etc (he loved it, he was an old farmer) and stopping somewhere quiet for a cup of tea. Anything much different from that was too much stress for him. All this talk of calling the cops or hitting her… what would it achieve if she isn’t all there upstairs? The old lady was with a paid carer – admittedly the carer sounded out of her depth. I would be more inclined to find out the care facility/organisation that was providing services to this lady to inform them of the behaviour so they could adjust the level of care/supervision accordingly.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Thanks so much for this :)

      • Aubrey

        Who cares if she was suffering from dementia? Not allowed to assault other people’s children. Period. If she is too impaired to control herself, she is too impaired to be in public. SMH.

      • Gangle

        If you kindly read my comments below this one, you will notice I never ever said a dementia patient has the right to hit someone. I did, however, mention that beating the shit out of her (suggestion from half the commenters) or calling the cops (the other half) it would probably be a good idea to contact the organisation that provides her care and informing them so that this womans care can be reviewed. This may mean that crowded public areas are no longer an option for this woman, or a carer who is more mindful of situations like this so they can be avoided.

    • Jamie-tang

      FFS, When are people going to learn (outside of kid is ready to get run over by a car), don’t grab, hit, touch, etc… other people’s kids. I’ve dealt with a lot of old bitches.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      Pretty sure that lady would be choking on her dentures a I ram them down her throat.
      NO ONE touches my kids!

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Something about this article is bothering me so much. (Clearly because I have like a billion comments on it). But this website, if anything, is usually devoted to jumping all over people who judge. Kid acting up in a restaurant? Could have Autism; parents need a break. Mom pushing waaaay old kid in stroller? Could be the kid has a non-visible disability. These are actual arguments I have seen on here. And I always respect that.

      But you’re all talking “momma bear” and “asshole” and “call the police” and “I’d smack her” about an 80 year old lady. A huge amount of the elderly (and not so elderly) population are out and about with dementia and Alzheimer’s. According to the original article, the elderly woman had someone with her (a child or other carer) who tried to apologize, and the woman told this carer to be quiet, too. SHE HAD SOMEONE WITH HER TO HELP HER. Clearly she is not in her right mind. It doesn’t matter that the child happened to have Down’s Syndrome. She probably does not understand that. It’s quite likely that she understands very little anymore.

      My coworker’s mother has Alzheimer’s. She used to be very quiet and shy. Now she runs up to strangers in stores and pets their children’s faces and ruffles their hair. My father, who used to be sweet, rants at everyone and tries to run over people in his way with his wheelchair (not exaggerating). These are not fun diseases. I am not proud of this internet community today, and that’s the first time I’ve felt that.

    • Momma425

      As a domestic violence survivor, it is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE for me to teach my daughter to call the police if someone hits her.

      If this story was about a 50 year old man who smacked a child, people would call it an assault. How is it less of an assault because the offender was an older woman? If the woman has health problems or was not in the right state of mind- then she needs to have more help and support. You can’t have assaultive people running around just because they are old.

    • notLindaBurke

      I’m in my 70s. I like to think I’m in my right mind, but who’s to say? Anyway a couple of months ago I was standing in a WalMart checkout line and a little girl, maybe six or seven years old, briefly grabbed my butt and then danced off with a smile on her face (like “I can do whatever I want”.) I was so surprised that I didn’t really know how to react. My daughter later asked me whether I had told the adult who seemed to be with the child and maybe that was the right thing to do. I just chose to ignore it and move on. Anyone have an opinion about this reversal of the topic situation?

      • Jessica Johnson

        I have this reflex where I hit people that grab, pinch or smack my ass. Young, old, male, female, you touch my ass and you aren’t my hubby, you’re getting hit. My hubby learned not to do it in public unless I clearly know it’s him, because he’s been hit more than once. This reflex has kept me from ever applying for a waitressing job, I know I’m gonna beat a customer at some point. If the kid had bounced off out of range before I had a chance to swing (they’re quick, I’m really not), you can bet I’d have had words with the kid’s parents. Strong words. Words that make managers at stores say “Ma’am, we’re going to have to ask you to leave.”
        Having said that though, your way is likely better.

    • Jessica Johnson

      I have to wonder about the old lady. I’m seriously wondering if maybe for a few moments she thought it was one of her own kids, if she was reliving a moment from her own past where her kid had pushed it’s luck one too many times during an outing. The line that makes me think this might be the case is: “That’s when the lady smacked her on the arm and said ‘That’s naughty, you’ve been told not to do that’.
      That’s not random stranger behavior. That’s “Listen kid, we’ve had this discussion 3 times in this store today. Keep your damn shoes on when you’re in the cart.” kind of behavior.

    • Amanda D

      I know how I would react if someone ever laid a hand on my child. They better hope and pray someone gets me off of that person real fast before I do some serious damage. I don’t care who you are, or how old you are, you have no right to put your hands on a defenseless child.