A young lady works long hours, so when she gets on the train, she puts in headphones and spaces out. She had no problems until a disabled girl’s mother started accusing her of “staring.”
OP (Original Poster) is a 22-year-old woman who has just started working in a major international city. She relies on public transport, using the metro to get to work and back home.
The Daily Grind
OP had worked for 10 hours that day and was eager to get home. Like always, she got on the metro and prepared for the ride home by using her earphones.
OP put in her headphones and listened to music to unwind from work. Tired from her job, she was “spaced out and focused on the music playing in her ear.”
While she was “spaced out” listening to her music, OP noticed a woman staring at her angrily.
She took out her earphones and waited to see what the woman wanted with her and why she was staring.
There’s Been a Misunderstanding
At this point, OP realized the woman was not just staring and angry. She was yelling.
Her face was red, and OP was confused about why she was upset or what had happened.
The Tension Escalates
The woman asked OP, “Is there a problem?”
OP didn’t know how to answer, taken aback by the situation, so she stammered, “What?”
Not Taking It
The woman did not miss a beat, asking again, “Do you have a problem?” OP was now thoroughly confused since she hadn’t been the one staring and asked, “What do you mean?”
The angry woman only replied, “You were staring at her.”
Reality Sinks In
OP glanced to the side of the woman and realized what the interaction was all about. Beside the woman sat a visibly disabled younger girl whom OP realized she must have been looking in her direction when she spaced out.
OP didn’t think she had been looking straight at the girl but over her head.
It All Comes Together
Now that she knew what was happening, OP told the mother that she was looking into space while listening to music.
The mother was unwilling to accept that answer and yelled, “No, you weren’t. You were staring.”
Avoiding the Conflict
OP didn’t respond. Instead, she put her headphones back in and started looking down at her phone.
That was when the woman looked at her friend and said, “Notice she isn’t staring now.”
The event had shaken OP up to such an extent that she didn’t feel right after she got off the metro. In fact, over a day later, OP was still shaken up by what had happened.
Confused and Hurt
OP didn’t know if she should have just apologized and moved on or if she had done something wrong. She thought she should be more careful in the future with where she was looking, but hadn’t even considered that part of standard public transport etiquette.
The Community’s Two Cents
Redditors quickly came to OP’s side, telling her it wasn’t something to worry about. Some of the Redditors who commented possessed disabilities and had a unique perspective.
The top-rated comment was, “Not the a**hole. As someone with a pretty obvious disability, sometimes people stare, but usually it’s kids, and they don’t mean any harm by it. They’ve just never seen that before. Sometimes, it’s adults, and while it is rude, it’s not like ruining my life. But my mother has gotten upset about it before because it’s more of a fresh wound for her than it ever will be for me. You were spaced out, not staring, and at least to me, there’s a difference. The lights are on, but nobody’s home. When people stare at me, they give me an ocular pat down. It’s super clear, the lights are on, and someone is home. She’s probably just ashamed or insecure and took it out on you. Don’t let it hurt you too much.”
Another commenter was concerned for the disabled girl, saying, “Not the a**hole. I don’t know what her problem was, but as a carer for a disabled person, she’s not doing them any favors by drumming up a public scene over nothing at all.”
Eyes to Yourself
Some of the Redditors were offended and turned off by the mother’s reaction. A few even advocated for OP to get some petty form of revenge.
One said, “Not the a**hole. Only one person made a scene here, and it wasn’t you. I have to admit, I’d have been tempted as hell to stare at her afterward. She was rude and leaped to a conclusion without worrying about any supporting facts.”
Do you think OP did anything wrong, or was it an innocent mistake? What could she have done to make the situation better?
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This post first appeared as An Angry Mom Yelled at Her Face, Accusing Her of “Staring” at Her Disabled Daughter. But She Was Innocently Spacing Out After a Long Day at Work! Was She Wrong? on Quote Ambition.