Author Topic: How could I have stopped this?  (Read 4375 times)

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JustEstelle

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How could I have stopped this?
« on: April 27, 2014, 11:47:10 PM »
I had a rather strange encounter while shopping today.  I had gone to the cosmetics section of this particular big box store and was looking at some products, doing some comparison shopping.  I use a motorized cart because I have mobility issues, and I had "parked" my cart well over to the right of the aisle to look at some products and read labels.  While I was there, another person came down the aisle to shop.  I think it was actually two people, because I heard the one person talking to someone else, but I only saw the one that I had the "encounter" with (I had my head down, reading labels, and was in "the zone").  The woman got what she was looking for and went down a little past me and then turned her buggy around to head back out the way she'd come.  When she started forward, her buggy clipped the side of the basket of my cart.  It startled me more than anything else, as the jolt caused me to look up to see what had happened.  She immediately apologized and I said, "It's okay.  Don't worry about it."

Then she asked if she could hug me.  I was just about to say, "I'd rather you didn't," when she threw her arms around my shoulders and bear-hugged me.  I couldn't think of anything to say that would be even in the same area code as "polite," so I just froze and didn't respond in any way.  I didn't make eye contact and didn't say anything at all.  As soon as she released me, the woman grabbed her buggy and hurried out of the department.  I was left wondering, "okay, what just happened?!"

I wonder if there was anything at all that I could have done to prevent her from grabbing me like that.  As I said, I was just about to say something to let her know that I was, in fact, NOT okay with a hug from a stranger - I'd even said, "I - " when she grabbed me - but how could I have stopped her from grabbing me when she came in for the hug?  I couldn't think of what to do other than just freeze like I did.

Your thoughts???
« Last Edit: April 28, 2014, 02:05:05 AM by JustEstelle »

Katana_Geldar

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2014, 11:49:32 PM »
My instinct would have been to out my hands up and take a step back, but you can't always react in time. Can't think of anything you could have done.

JustEstelle

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2014, 12:20:04 AM »
As I was seated in a motorized cart, I couldn't have stepped back.   :-\

Katana_Geldar

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2014, 12:24:44 AM »
Sorry, I missed the part where you were seated. I'm not sure what you could have done. Short of telling her to get your hands off you.

cicero

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2014, 12:41:25 AM »
eww.

I don't know what you could have done in the moment - other than yelling at her "stop" and putting up your hands if you had the time, but it sounds like she acted so fast that you didn't have a chance.


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purple

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2014, 12:52:50 AM »
CRUD MONKEYS!! I would've reacted like a cornered beast I'm afraid.

I don't even like to be touched or hugged by people I know and like, let alone some random stranger.

I mean, I'd try to step away but if she was that quick and I was in your situation where I wasn't so agile, I can't even say for sure that I wouldn't resort to some kind of hitting, to be honest.

sammycat

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2014, 01:36:26 AM »
Yikes, what a bizarre and unpleasant situation. Other than yelling STOP! very forcefully I can't really think of what else you could've done in the moment. It sounds as though it happened so quickly that there really wasn't much time for reacting, especially as stepping away wasn't really an option in this case.

This woman sounds really 'off' and if she makes a habit of doing things like this then sooner or later someone is going to react very forcefully physically and she won't have anyone to blame but herself.

pearls n purls

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2014, 02:03:07 AM »
I probably would have cried out in a panic, "Stop!  I don't know you!"

Yikes!

Bijou

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2014, 04:57:25 AM »
Good grief!  The first  thing I thought of was what if you had a back problem or some kind of painful condition and that was the reason for using the cart.  She could have hurt you very much and possibly injured you.  I think I would have put my hands up and stopped her, with a firm "No!" but it sounds like she just came swooping in without giving an opportunity to react.  I don't know what a person can do in a case like that.  Maybe yell out so at least they'll cut it short.  In addition to the pain and injury I mentioned, just plain ugh to strangers hugging strangers!
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camlan

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2014, 06:41:41 AM »
I'd have been yelling, "No! Stop!"

I know it is difficult to think in these situations, because your brain is frozen on dealing with whatever the heck the other person is trying to do to you.

Short, clear direct statements are best. Your intended, "I'd rather you didn't," isn't strong enough. "Rather" still leaves the implication that she can go ahead and hug you, just that you'd be happier if she didn't. And it takes longer to think of and then say.

"No!" "Stop!" "Don't!" "Help!" are short, simple to remember and clear. Said in a loud voice, they will attract the attention of others around you, and that might be a good thing.

You could also raise your arms and fend off the assault-hugger. Lean as far away as possible. Let your face take on an expression of horror, or shock or dislike or any other negative emotion.

My nephew uses a wheelchair. When he was younger and very cute-looking, people would just come up and want to hug him or pray over him. If they asked, he'd always say, "No, thank you. Let's pray for you!" which greatly startled the askers and usually got them to back off.

Another option would be to always keep one hand on the cart controls, so that you can back away or speed up and get away from people like this.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


m2kbug

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2014, 06:49:00 AM »
I really can't think of anything you could have done.  It took you by surprise and was over before you really had a chance to think about it.  Next time you could say, "How about a handshake instead," or "I'd really rather not," or if someone is going in for the hug, just put your hand out for a handshake instead. 

I had something like this happen to me awhile ago.  I don't have any any issues around touching and hugging, even from strangers, so while strange as it was, it was also a little endearing for me.  It's kind of bizarre to go and hug strangers, but for me it really wasn't a problem.  I really think about the only thing you can do is put your hand out for a handshake instead, kind of put a block in front of the hug.

camlan

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2014, 07:19:27 AM »
The problem with this hug, as I see it, is that the woman doing the hugging is only seeing the OP's disability or whatever it is that has her using the cart.

The disability is the reason for the hug.

You'll notice that the hugger asked for permission, but didn't wait for a "yes" and went right into hug mode. Completely taking away any control the OP had over the situation. She was trapped and couldn't get away.

The hugger now feels very good about herself. She hugged a disabled person today. She brightened their day. Now she can go to her church group and brag about how much loving kindness she showed by hugging a person with a disability.

Never realizing that the person with the disability had no choice but to be hugged, because they physically could not get away.

While the person with the disability goes home in shock, and unhappy, after what was basically an unprovoked assault.

It's the smug, "I'm able-bodied, so I can hug you whether or not you want it, just so I can feel good about myself," attitude of people like this that really bothers me.

If the OP can't avoid being hugged again, it's always possible to say something after the hug. Not "thank you," but, "Why on earth did you do that?" "I didn't give you permission to touch me!" "Do that again and I'll call the police for assault."
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Marisol

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2014, 07:48:18 AM »
It might be a reaction to her being "disabled" or the hugger might have their own issues where they don't have or see boundaries and they hug every and anyone.  Especially after they think they upset someone.

Either way that is not normal behavior.  I've been randomly hugged before and I have no mobility issues. The huggers have been a variety of people too.

TootsNYC

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2014, 08:33:01 AM »
I don't think she gave you time to stop her, from your description of the incident.

She was really way out of line.

I think your reaction of being frozen and not responding at all was best. You could have spoken (if you'd had neurons available to do so--I bet they were in shock) and said, "Please stop." or "stop" or "let go of me."

You'd be justified in being curt. And if she'd said, "I was just being nice," the answer is:
   "Nevertheless."           delivered sternly.

Kari

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Re: How could I have stopped this?
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2014, 10:34:41 AM »
A trick I learned from social dancing is that if someone comes in closer than you like, you put a hand on their shoulder and gently prevent them from coming any further. I'm not sure if it would have helped in the OP's situation, which is a bizarre case!