During a New York Yankees game last week, a 4-year-old developmentally disabled boy kicked the seat of the man in front of him. Instead of asking the child to please stop or asking the child's parents to tell him to stop, the man whirled around and lashed out at the little boy, calling him "retarded."
Luciano DiMarco's mother, Angelica DiMarco, caught the incident on camera, and the footage went viral over the weekend. News 12 Westchester first picked up the story.
"What is your f***ing problem?" the man yelled, DiMarco alleged to the New York Daily News. On video, she caught the man yelling, "What are you, retarded?"
According to his parents, the little boy went into hysterics. Since the incident, they said that he has kept repeating the word "retarded" and has a hard time watching his favorite team now. His parents say they won't bring him back to the stadium until the staff come up with a solid plan of action in case something like this happens again.
Luciano apparently has sensory issues and struggles with grasping social cues. He has a tendency to bang his head when overwhelmed so he is sometimes forced to wear a helmet to prevent him from hurting himself. His mother believes he may have kicked the seat out of pure excitement, quite literally unable to contain himself.
It's a mistake that warrants a firm "No," but not a verbal attack.
"The guy would not make eye contact with me or my wife," Danny DiMarco, the boy's father, reportedly told the New York Daily News. "Everything he was saying was directed toward my son."
He remembered what he said to the man: "I don't understand why you're yelling at the kid, when I'm right here. My son has special needs. That's all I said."
What he really wanted to do, DiMarco told reporters, was throw the man over the balcony.
A spokesman for Yankee stadium said that there were "quiet spaces" set aside for those who run the risk of becoming overwhelmed with the noise of the baseball game, like children with autism and veterans. However, Luciano's parents found the staff's response to the incident inadequate as they failed to help the family find more comfortable seats away from the angry man.
"We're all Yankee fans, we're all from the Bronx," Luciano's great-aunt Patricia Turco told the New York Daily News in another story. "His great-grandmother said she'll never watch another Yankee game again."
Staff say they are looking into the incident and will get the family back to the stadium soon, but the DiMarcos say they haven't heard a thing — as it goes, the Yankees stand to lose quite a few fans.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Joe Nicholso