A deaf Publix employee says she was punched by a customer because she couldn’t hear the woman’s question.
Liberty Gratz is deaf, and said she could not hear the woman asking where to find an item in the store. Liberty was kneeling to straighten items on a shelf when she felt a punch.
“All of a sudden, I felt some woman hit me in my back,” Liberty said, with her mother Jeanette interpreting to WRIC.
“She doesn’t have that peripheral vision, so she’s really focused on her work,” Jeanette said. “She doesn’t always notice the people beside her.”
Liberty helped the woman find what she needed, using a pad of paper to communicate with shoppers.
“At this point Liberty was stunned, but turned and told the lady she couldn’t hear by pointing to her ear and shaking her head no,” Jeanette told the News & Observer. “She handed the lady a pen and paper so she could tell her what she needed, then showed her where it was. She said the lady still acted and looked angry while she was helping her.”
Liberty said Publix took the matter seriously and searched security camera footage, but were unable to identify the customer who hit her.
“They kept looking again and again and again, but you couldn’t see because there were so many people blocking the camera,” Liberty said through her mom’s interpreting. “It was hard for me to really see her face to make sure it was the right person.”
Jeanette and Liberty said they want to talk to the woman about treating people with kindness, both with and without disabilities.
“I know hurt people usually are the ones that hurt people,” Jeanette told WRIC. “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.”