News & Observer Publix employee was punched because she didn't hear a customer. She's deaf. News & Observer Liberty Gratz is deaf and has vision loss. That hasn't stopped her from working at Publix. But on the afternoon of April 22, she had an… https://t.co/4WumHt282F pic.twitter.com/bzPrgzIpKj— Hurshal (@Hurshal) April 25, 2018
A hearing-impaired employee at a supermarket in Midlothian, Virginia, was reportedly punched in the back by a customer after she didn’t respond to her query.
Liberty Gratz, 21, works at a Publix store. She was born with Usher Syndrome, which can cause combined deafness and blindness. The woman was stocking products on a low shelf in the store when she suddenly felt someone hit her in the back.
Her mother, Janette Gratz, interpreted the incident and said her daughter was stunned by the action. She turned around and found a customer, who remains unidentified, standing behind her. Gratz explained to the customer that she couldn’t hear by pointing to her ear and handed her a pen and paper.
She helped the customer with what she was looking for, however, the customer remained angry.
After the incident, Gratz complained to the store management who then tried to identify the woman but didn’t succeed.
“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,” the employee signed as her mother interpreted.
Janette said her daughter uses a pen and paper to communicate with her customers but because of her poor peripheral vision she doesn’t always know when people are next to her. The mother also condemned the incident and said it affected her daughter to a great extent.
“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?” she said.
The mother added, “I know hurt people usually are the ones that hurt people. 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.”
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