A customer at Publix allegedly got angry with an employee for not responding to her quickly enough, and sucker-punched the woman in the back. The employee is deaf.
As The Raleigh News & Observer reports, Liberty Gratz has been working at the same Virginia Publix since it opened in 2017. As a disabled person – she is deaf and has vision loss – she is thrilled to have a job. And last week, Liberty was at work at her job, kneeling down to a low shelf so she could put merchandise on it, when a customer walked up behind her.
Apparently the woman was trying to ask Liberty for help, not knowing that Liberty is deaf. However, rather than do the right thing – find another employee, tap Liberty on the shoulder, or just about anything else – the customer allegedly took out her frustration in a more direct way: by socking the young woman from behind.
“All of a sudden, I felt some woman hit me in my back.”
Though she had just suffered an egregious physical assault, Libert still kept her focus on her customer. She tried to communicate with the woman the only way she knows how to communicate with hearing people – via pen and paper, she says through her interpreter, her mother Jeanette.
“She handed the lady a pen and paper so she could tell her what she needed, then showed her where it was.”
Liberty Gratz is deaf and says she could not hear the woman asking where to find an item in the store when the scene turned violent. https://t.co/cEB08yNKHy
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Apparently, learning that the woman she’d just assaulted was deaf still wasn’t enough to stifle the customer’s anger.
“She said the lady still acted and looked angry while she was helping her.”
Fortunately for Liberty, she found her bosses at the grocery store, which has locations across Florida and the southeastern U.S., were sympathetic and helpful.
Unfortunately, however, security tapes failed to prove helpful in identifying the alleged assailant.
“They kept looking again and again and again, but you couldn’t see because there were so many people blocking the camera. It was hard for me to really see her face to make sure it was the right person.”
As of this writing, police have no leads and no suspects in this assault.
Liberty and her mother, however, both say that if the law won’t put the alleged assailant in her place, perhaps a Higher Power will, according to WNCN-TV (Goldsboro, North Carolina).
“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.”