Thank you for listening to my momma bear rant about That time I told off an old lady at Fantastic Sam’s ….. I’m just a mom who really loves her little girl. All of her, no matter what her first impression is to you or what her challenges may consist of.
So my baby girl’s hair grows really fast. I generally take her to my salon for a bang trim because they are really good with kids and their bang trim is only $10 – even for kids – and they are REALLY great! Sadly, earlier today I did not have time to drive to my salon so I swung into the Fantastic Sam’s right down the street from our house right after dropping off the big kids at school. We have a busy week and this would be cheap and quick. It’s just a bang trim, so it should be fine.
My daughter has some sensory and anxiety challenges. She hasn’t been diagnosed with anything official and the TEAM of doctors that have worked together to keep her alive have all mentioned she might just have a strong personality and she might have some slight spectrum issues we can watch and address later, but still; she’s a little different…. but aren’t we all?
Anyway, I do my best as her mommy to meet her needs, help lessen her anxiety, and also teach her how our world works and how we have to live in it….. but she is two. We walked into the salon and I said to my baby girl “Let’s get are hair trimmed OK? It’s gonna be so quick K?”
“I no like it.” in a whisper, her chin tucked into her chest and hugging her sunglasses tight. No yelling, no fit. Her little feet stamped nervously, but not a fit at all.
I led her hand over to the chair that was set up just for her. “Sweets, I bet you can sit still for just a minute and I bet the nice lady will let you have this lollipop while you do your cut K?” She shuffled over, chin still tucked into her chest.
“That’s bribery.” Says a little old lady getting a shampoo set in the chair next to ours. I had been focused on my daughter, but my eyes met her judgmental smirk.
“Yup. I’ve got three kids, they are all alive. This one gets a tiny lollipop when she gets a haircut because it helps her get through it. I don’t feel badly about that at all, but everyone raises their kids differently.” Me. I am NO stranger to a judgmental look or statement from an old lady who clearly raised better behaved kids than I have.
Old lady shrugs.
The hair stylist brings over the cape and asks us to sit. “Oh, do you have a booster?” Me. “You aren’t going to hold her?” Stylist. “No, I usually just hold her hand, but she sits on her own, she should be fine.” Me.
“Yeah, you shouldn’t spoil her.” Old lady who I STILL have not asked for an opinion from quips in.
* Kate’s inner dialogue* “What would Jesus do, what would Jesus do…”
Small talk between C’s stylist & me. Small talk between old lady’s stylist and her.
Then old lady asks “How old is she?”
“She’s 2 and a half.”
“Well I am amazed.” Says the little old lady.
I prep myself with my ‘gracious face’ – because something with that lead in tends to be followed up with “She is doing so well.” “Her hair is SO thick and beautiful!” “Look at those long eye lashes!” or something else complimentary….. silly me.
“When I was 2 1/2 I was already reading.” Judgmental look up and down at my baby and then a sneer.
* OMG….. SERENITY NOW SERENITY NOW.*
Seriously, my eyes got hot. I have had a decent morning thus far, but this mean old lady was totally gonna make me cry. I don’t cry freely, I hate crying so much. So I prayed and stroked my baby girl’s hand. She was doing so good.
“My mom had to put me in school at four because I was just too smart.”
So she isn’t stopping. I bit my tongue and felt a tear start to well in my left eye. I don’t know what to do with this.
I decided I would write her a little note before I left. Something along the lines of….
“Dear Ma’am – You don’t know me, and I don’t know you. I don’t need to defend my child’s intelligence, or my parenting to you. But just because I will. My daughter has challenges your child may not have had and you may not have had. My daughter’s doctors told us she might not walk or talk and she has been in and out of a hospital much of her life. She isn’t reading yet, but you can’t tell all she is thinking by a five minute meeting. All that being said, I think it is sad that your mom taught you to read and never taught you manners or tact. I am her mom, I love her even if she isn’t reading yet or if she has anxiety when getting her hair cut. You hurt my feelings, but I hope you have a nice day, Love, Kate”
Ah, the best of intentions………..
The phone rings and our stylist needs to answer it. Old lady by this point is over getting her hair shampooed. And like many old ladies just like her, she doesn’t realize (or doesn’t care) that just because her ears don’t work anymore, doesn’t mean that everyone else’s don’t. She talks about her new medication that was for a disease she couldn’t recall the name of, but it was gonna make her boobs get smaller, and her dance class she teaches and then as she stands up to walk back to her chair she says to her stylist plenty loud enough for all in the salon to hear. “I am just amazed at that little girl over there. When I was 2 1/2 I was reading, and look at her.”
And she sashays her judgmental butt back over in our direction…. but I stopped her, just for a second.
“You know what? You are a MEAN old lady. A mean judgmental old lady. I think it is terribly sad that your mom had the forethought to teach you to read at such a young age but never taught you to use your manners. I think it is sad that you have obviously lived a very long life and have never learned or care to show tact. You don’t know me or my daughter. It is NONE of your business, but my oldest was reading at 2 1/2 too. This one was a NICU baby, doctors told us she might not live, she doesn’t read yet, and I am totally OK with that, but who are you to judge a kid and a mom that you have only seen for a couple minutes? Not every kid has the same start in life and I think it is sad that you feel like you are better than me because you don’t think my baby is smart enough. She is doing fine.”
And some more stuff….. I kinda blacked out a little bit. But I know I called her a mean old lady several times….. which to be fair was a tried & tested fact – she hadn’t tested my daughter’s intelligence at all, but felt the need to call her not so smart on more than one occasion.
Christ-like behavior? Maybe not. I dunno though…. I think that sometimes “What would Jesus do?” can be answered with “Throw over some tables and call people out on their inappropriateness.”
I only yelled for 30 seconds or a minute max…. but I can say a lot in a minute. Could I have kept quiet? Probably. I usually do. I usually suck it down and then write something snarky on facebook. But I didn’t this time. This time I confronted.
What did she say in response? NOTHING. No “Oh, I am sorry.” No, “That isn’t what I meant.” Just a condescending nod in my direction and then she went on talking about here weird boob medicine and how she liked the conditioner the stylist had used.
Nobody said anything. Her stylist focused on her hair, Little Miss C’s stylist finished up her hair, and that was about it.
The guy in the waiting area looked like he was going to pee his pants while I gave meanie a piece of my mind, but that was about it.
The folks in the waiting area complimented her adorable haircut as we walked out (it may have been because she truly was cute…. it may have been for fear of her mama bear, who knows.).
I was checked out by a somewhat annoyed stylist, who I tipped slightly better than usual, even though she wasn’t super friendly at that point. I suppose it was me that made the room tense. Uh, I’m not the one who called a baby stupid, but I suppose meanie is probably a more regular customer than I am so I suppose it makes sense for you to be on team meanie.
I congratulated my little girl on doing such a good job and then sat in my car and cried and shook. I called my mom and my husband to share the story because I didn’t think it was right to drive.
Then I posted about the altercation on facebook. I guess I am still worked up about it, because then I blogged about it. Thank you for letting me vent.
Also, I may not be welcome at Fantastic Sam’s anymore. *shrugs*
* For the record, I have nothing against old ladies. I hope the future is kind enough to me that I get to be one at some point. My point to her was that my little girl hadn’t been around quite long enough to know how things all work here on Earth…. but she had been here plenty long enough to know about tact and kindness. She chose to be mean. That’s sad. I’d like to be a nice old lady someday, not a mean one. Also, I don’t think Fantastic Sam’s was at all responsible for said old lady’s remarks – but I think that SOMEONE should have said “I’m sorry that lady was mean to your little girl, we hope you will come back.”…. but they didn’t.
** Update ** “That time I told off an old lady at Fantastic Sam’s” made it’s way to corporate and then to the local Fantastic Sam’s franchise that we visited that day. We received a nice note from the owner saying he was very sorry for our experience and thank you for sharing with him as it would provide a valuable learning experience in customer service for his stylists and employees in the future. This was all I really wanted, to feel validated in my bumming experience. While it was not at all necessary or requested – he also said he would love to have Miss C back ‘on the house’ – so we will probably be back at least once more.