While it is understandable for parents to be upset if a stranger touches their child in public, it is important to be reasonable and listen to the stranger’s explanation before making a scene.

An internet user asked, “Am I a jerk for thinking my wife overreacted when an elderly lady touched our kid?”. We need to hear your thoughts on the matter!


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The Original Poster (OP) and his wife went shopping. OP went to a different aisle to get some stuff.

OP heard his wife scream HELP! So OP ran over, and she was freaking out because an elderly woman hugged their son, you can tell the woman was harmless.

“The woman’s son came along and profusely stated that she had dementia and she meant no harm, that she tends to view every child as her child.”, says OP.

What Did OP Do Next?

Couple fighting in front of child.
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OP said it was okay, and he himself apologized for his wife’s overreaction.

During this time, OP was not paying attention, and his wife called 911 and called over security. It became a huge mess for all parties because OP’s wife was not letting the issue go. You could also tell the son was extremely embarrassed as was OP.

OP’s Wife’s Extreme Reaction

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“I was trying to relax my wife, but she was going into a complete meltdown rage saying that his mother should be in a home if she cannot keep her hands to herself. What if she got our kid sick, tried to kidnap him, got combative and hurt him.”, says OP.

OP Agreed

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All of which OP agrees are possible outcomes, but OP told her none of that happened so let’s just leave it. Security states since the wife called the police they had to wait for them to show up, so they could file a report as per their store policy.

How Did She React

Frustrated young girl shrugging shoulders isolated over gray background. I do not know where to spend her vacation, what destination to choose.
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About 25 minutes later the police showed up and asked what happened and my wife explained everything. You can tell the police where WHAT THE HELL is wrong with this woman? OP felt nothing but disappointment.

Police took the statement and started laughing as they left. They gave the son of the elderly mom a fist bump and said sorry.

The Final Fuss

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OP’s wife was upset he did not have her side, she was upset how OP took the side of the son instead of her.

OP explained his mom was clearly sick, it was a harmless gesture and explained she was one that acted unreasonably. OP did acknowledge her concerns, but nothing bad happened.

What Happened Next

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“We could have just let it slide and went on with our day. She told me I failed as a husband. So we ran the story by our family and friends, it is a 50/50 split. So my BIL said this would be a funny story, he frequents the sub.

So was I the jerk? Sorry forgot to add that our kid is 19 months old.”, says OP.

She Should Have Dropped It Once It Was Clear

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“Not the jerk. Good lord. Your wife’s initial concern was justified, but after the situation was explained and an apology was offered, she should have dropped it. There was no reason to call 911, or even store security. You didn’t ‘fail as a husband,’ you were acting rationally.”

Calling 911 Was Out Of Line

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“Not the jerk. It was fine for your wife to yell for help and get upset when it first happened.

Calling 911 and continuing to make a huge deal of it after the son explained the dementia was out of line and definitely a huge overreaction.”

Doubling Down Was Unnecessary

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“Not the jerk. Your wife’s initial panic is understandable, but doubling down and calling the police when it was already clear the woman wasn’t a threat and the moment was over was extreme and unnecessary.”

The Lack Of Empathy Is Astounding

wtf woman (1)
Image Credit: Cookie Studio, Shutterstock.

“As someone who has had a loved one with dementia, your wife was so over the top I’d be absolutely mortified if I were you. The lack of empathy is astounding. I feel so bad for that woman’s son. Jesus Christ!”

No Jerks Here

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“No jerks here. Maybe calling the police is a bit overreacting but this woman’s just grabbed her child of course she’s going to panic. Old ladies can still be bad people or can be part of groups that use them to take children.

All she knows is this random woman has just grabbed her kid. If she’s known to randomly pick up children she needs to be supervised in public places. What the police did is wildly unprofessional.”

Your Wife Needs Counseling

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“Why is your wife so paranoid that your child will be kidnapped? You are not a jerk. The wife may need some counseling to help her deal with her anxiety issues.”

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