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Guy Goes Off On Woman Who Berates His Disabled Brother For ‘Freaking Her Out’ In Toy Store

Angry man pointing finger and yelling
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Some parents make sure to explain to their children that families come in all shapes and sizes, while others are much more limited in their definition of family.

Many of these same people also take issue with people who are “different” than them in some way, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor AITABigBud was frustrated on his disabled brother’s behalf during a recent shopping trip when a woman kept commenting on his hand movements.

But when she went so far as to say that he was “freaking her out,” the Original Poster (OP) knew he had to speak up for him.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for ‘going off’ on a mother in the toy store?”

The OP had a special arrangement with his younger brother as his caretaker. 

“I’m (28 Male) my brother’s caretaker (21 Male, though his mental age is 7-8).”

“Our parents decided at 18 to tell us to screw off, so when my brother (let’s call him Bill) turned 18, I grabbed him and enrolled him to get his GED since he didn’t finish high school, and take care of him.”

“His chores are to clean his room, help with laundry, and set the table for supper.”

“I get paid by the state, and you better believe I make sure his needs are met. He’s my little bud.”

“For each day he does his chores, he gets a sticker, and at the end of the month, that sticker gets counted as $5, and he uses the money for whatever he wants, like toys, special snacks, etc. He loves this.”

The OP and his brother were recently out on their monthly shopping trip.

“He’s been so good lately with chores, I took him out for burgers and fries and took him to the toy store.”

“My brother is big. Not fat, just tall and actually big-boned (he’s a healthy weight and overall health). He also gets excited and stims by flapping his hands. You do you, little dude.”

“At the toy store, he announced he wants Barbies. Cool, no judgment.”

“We go look at Barbies. He’s stemming (self-stimulating for comfort) and rambling about what he wanted.”

Fellow shoppers soon proved to be a problem.

“Meanwhile, a lady and little girl come in the aisle. Not even two minutes passed, and the lady told us to go to another aisle, as she wanted to look at the dolls, and his weird hand movements were freaking her out.”

“I told her to wait her turn.”

“Not even another minute passed, and she told my brother to knock it off and go look at something else.”

“Then I was p**sed. I tell my brother to get what he wanted and looked at her and told her, her daughter could use a better role model, I’d hate for her to turn into such a grouchy hag.”

“I took my brother out to pay for his barbies all while ignoring her telling me how much of an a**hole I am for saying that in front of her daughter.”

“AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some pointed out that the woman could have gone into another aisle instead.

“NTA. If she was so freaked out, she could find a different aisle. She’s raising her child to consider people with disabilities as scary or abnormal, and that’s just s**tty parenting. Unless your brother was saying or doing something inappropriate, she had no right to ask him to leave.” – beckdawg19

“My 23-year-old is autistic. He stims often as well, but is doing great shopping for himself at game stores.”

“The brother was being cool and he has every right to shop in whatever aisle he wants, and if the lady didn’t like it, she can go to another aisle or store. That’s what happens when you go out in public, he had as much right to that aisle as she did.” – legal_bagel

“I have a feeling that EntitledMama felt that a male, especially an apparently grown-up male, being in the Barbie aisle was inappropriate. Never mind the fact that dads, uncles, and grandpas might be buying gifts for the Barbie-loving children in their lives.”

“But she should have definitely removed herself and her daughter if it made her feel uncomfortable, that would be the reasonable response.” – RorhiT

“NTA one bit, I suggest hero. I can’t even believe she acted that way since there were obvious indications of your brother’s state.”

“Regardless, it’s a public place, she has no authority to tell you where you can and cannot be. If her daughter is getting freaked out by noticing someone with a disability, it’s her mother’s job to inform her that you cannot be rude to someone or feel entitled just because you don’t like their hand gestures.”

“I wish I was a bystander so I could’ve given you and your brother a round of applause. Bravo!” – Academic_Nobody_4964

“As the mother of an adult stimmer, I think you were very contained… and I thank you for taking such good care of your brother,”

“Twenty-eight years of watching my girl be judged by strangers has made me very intolerant of ignorance… and that leads me to be a little more forceful when pointing out their error of said strangers’ ways.”

“At least they have a better story to tell later. The narrative changes from the stimming adult to her bat-s**t crazy mother!” – the_real_pam_halbert

Others agreed and were grateful the OP was advocating for his brother.

“OP is such a good brother, Bill is so lucky. Little girl at the store, not so much. Unless she has someone else around besides her terrible mother, to teach her how to be compassionate and open-minded about people and their disabilities, she’ll grow up to be just as judgemental as mama is.” – Arrozilustracion

“My 27-year-old self is autistic too. I can support myself and hold a full-time job, but I was doing so much masking that it was destroying my mental health, and I had to relearn to let myself stim in public and it’s freeing as f**k.”

“You’re good people to let your kids and siblings stim freely and get what they want. I collect toys too, cuddling with my stuffed shark right now. F**k what other people think!” – bluecrowned

“You are an awesome brother. Mattel’s ‘Creatable World’ line is intentionally gender-neutral. The dolls come with cool outfits that be mixed and matched as well as changeable hair, etc. Since all the dolls in the line don’t have huge breasts or shoulders, all of the stuff for them is completely interchangeable.” – Polyf**kery

“I love that you are calling him ‘little dude’ after reading how big he is. I also have mad respect for you for stepping up and taking care of him! A lot of a**holes in this story (I’m generously including your parents here for abandoning their awesome kids) but neither you nor the little dude are any of them.”

“I wish you two all the best!” – Fjadora_cooks

“I’m thinking about how s**tty their parents are and how this guy deserves all the f**king respect for taking in his brother. So many people don’t help out siblings enough because of things like this. Dude, OP you are a freaking saint for being your brother’s keeper in the best way possible.” – Eldyna-Cat

“This story just reminded me. I work in a preschool and my own son has autism. One day all the upper classes were outside, including my kid, and a school ager who had a sister who is around my son’s age. He was chasing them because that’s how he plays and when he catches them, he will push them a bit in a way to ask them to run more.”

“Their mom came up when he pushed her son, and he was telling my son to go away after that. That mom said something that still brings tears to my eyes because she is the first parent I have ever heard this from.”

“She told her son that he needs to be nice because my son was different and just wants to play. That he likes him and was just excited. She explained in a nice way he was different but still a person and that they should be nice to everyone no matter if they are like them or not.”

“She is still my favorite mom even though her daughter is no longer in my class.” – flower-alchemist

“I want to meet your brother. He sounds wonderful, and so do you. NTA! And I hope that you’ll continue to educate ugly people like that. Now maybe her daughter will have a chance at actually becoming a decent person.” – bowie-of-stars

While the OP was second-guessing himself for speaking up to the woman and for calling her a “hag,” the subReddit was grateful that he spoke up for his brother in a way that so many people wouldn’t.

At the end of the day, the OP was doing something that made his brother happy and made his life more fulfilling. Unfortunately, that also included standing up for him around people who chose not to understand him.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.