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Dad Mortified After Wife Calls Cops On Elderly Lady With Dementia Who Hugged Their Son

Woman screaming and pointing a finger.
Compassionate Eye Foundation/David Oxberry/OJO Images Ltd/Getty Images

It’s a parent’s job to worry about the safety of their children.

Even if some tend to spend much more time worrying than others.

As a result, if their child leaves their sight for even less than a minute, it’s hard for them not to jump to the worst-case scenario.

Redditor Competitive-Egg-8527 and his wife recently had quite an eventful time grocery shopping, when they saw their son being hugged by a stranger.

Something which set off the protective instincts of the original poster (OP)’s wife, who even went so far as to get authorities involved.

The OP, on the other hand, felt her reaction was a bit much, which his wife didn’t appreciate one bit.

Wondering if he was being unfair to her, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for thinking my wife overreacted when an elderly lady touched our kid?”

The OP explained why he felt his wife’s reaction only made a recent incident at the supermarket even worse.

“My wife and I went shopping.”

“I went to a different aisle to get some jerky.”

“I heard my wife scream HELP!”

“So I ran over, and she was freaking out because an elderly women hugged our 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.”

“I said it was okay, and I myself apologized for my wife’s overreaction.”

“During this time I was not paying attention and my wife called 911 and called over security it became a huge mess for all parties because my wife was not letting the issue go.”

“You could also tell the son was extremely embarrassed as was I.”

“I was trying to relax my wife, but she was going on 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.”

“All of which I agree are possible outcomes, but I told her none of that happened so let’s just leave it.”

“Security states since the wife called the police we had to wait for them to show up, so they can file a report as per their store policy.”

“About 25 minutes later police showed up and asked what happened and my wife explained everything, you can tell the police were like WTF is wrong with this woman.”

“I felt nothing but disappointment.”

“Police took the statement and started laughing as they left.”

“Gave the son of the elderly mom a fist bump and said sorry.”

“My wife was upset I did not have her side, she was upset how I took the side of the son instead of her.”

“I explained his mom was clearly sick, it was a harmless gesture, and explained she was one that acted unreasonably.”

“I did acknowledge her concerns, but nothing bad happened 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 a 50/50 split.”

“So my BIL said this would be a funny story for AITA, he frequents the sub”

“So reddit was I the AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

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

The Reddit community was in agreement that the OP was not the a**hole for telling his wife she overreacted.

While everyone agreed that the OP’s wife had every right to worry about the safety of their son, they also agreed that she went way too far for calling 911, as it was clearly a mistake and their son was unharmed, and she could have even shown the woman some sympathy.


“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.”- poeadam

“One time I was taking a nap during the Christmas holidays when I was awoken by someone hammering at my front door.”

“I opened it to an extremely angry elderly lady shouting that she was fed up with my dog going on her property and my son riding his bike through her flowerbeds.”

“I didn’t have a dog or a kid!”

“I explained this to her, she called me a liar and said she was going to report me to the management company and left.”

“Anyway a few minutes later, another knock.”

“It was her daughter to apologize.”

“Her mother was visiting for the holidays but usually resided in a care home as she had dementia.”

“I felt bad for her.”

“A few days later when the older lady returned to my door with the same complaints I apologized to her and promised to keep my dog and kid better controlled.”

“Funny but it seemed to appease her.”- Particular-Ad6338


“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.”- soog0704


“Panicking I can understand.”

“Calling 911 when the situation has already been defused and there was no danger to the kid?”

“That’s an a**hole move.”

“911 is an emergency line, There was no emergency.”

“Also, if you are in America, is she trying to get someone killed?”

“There is absolutely no world where I would take your wife’s side after she involved the police for such a sh*t reason.”

“I hope in the future once her health starts failing she’d be fine with her children just dumping her in a home where she belongs (as per her claims).”

“She shows an extreme lack of empathy.”

“Also how did she leave a 1.5yo in such a situation where a helpless old granny was able to take him and hug him without her being able to put a stop to it before it even happened?”- Lucallia


“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.”-coffeemom23


“While your wife does have a point- idk how old your kid is but that’s a little traumatic to have some strange woman come grab you.”

“It’s scary for a little kid.”

“The son should be a little more careful with his mom.”

“What if she grabbed a kid with special needs and the kid hurt her or themself?”

“I do think though he apologized, explained the situation and nothing else bad happened.”

“Calling 911 was too far.”

“I think if your wife felt strongly about reporting it- tell the store manager.”

“That’s it.”- DoraTheUrbanExplorer

“I’m amazed it’s a 50/50 split.”

“I think your wife overreacted massively.”

“I would think that your child may have been distressed by your wife’s reaction, but not by being hugged by an old lady.”- PeggyNoNotThatOne


“Your wife’s initial reaction is over the board but at least understandable.”

“Her follow-up reaction though is completely nuts.”

“Her comment to you on ‘failing as a husband’ – well in that case she failed as a human being.”-ItIsNotAManual1984


“Get your wife a therapist.”

“That’s a way overboard reaction.”- Honest_Specific6241


“Tell your wife to hope that someone shows her the same grace when she’s 87 and suffering from dementia.”

“I would have waited for her in the car- standing by just fed her sense that she was right.”-capmanor1755


“Your wife sounds nuts.”- Illustrious_State862


“Her initial reaction is parental instinct.”

“But it sounds like she escalated more and more even as the situation was totally de-escalating.”

“Compassionately, though, you might want to talk to her about what was going on when everyone is calm again.”

“This looks more like a PTSD trigger than an ordinary reaction.”

“Maybe she has had some experiences in the past, that made this extremely stressful for her.”-Throw_Spray


“Your wife more than overreacted.”

“Yikes.”- NJESQ04


“I’d have said NAH if your wife hadn’t called the police.”

“That was an overreaction, and I’m wondering if there’s something in her past or that she’s seen in the media/online/somewhere that triggered it.”

“I think my initial reaction would have been similar.”

“But calling security and the cops?”

“I can’t rationalize that in my head.”

“Especially after the woman’s son explained and apologized.”- Rough_Start_5396

Seeing your child in the arms of a stranger is certainly an alarming sight.

However, as soon as the OP’s wife learned what had actually happened, you’d think she might have shown even the slightest bit of understanding to the confused woman and her son.

The fact that she didn’t suggests there might be something more serious going on with her, which maybe she and the OP should have a talk about.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.