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Stranger telling of DC/distressing an elderly woman

(40 Posts)
57mama Sat 07-Dec-19 15:40:25

DH and I took the DC and DH's parents out for lunch today. MIL has limited mobility and uses a wheelchair when out and about. Unfortunately, the cafe we ate at didn't have space for a wheelchair at the table so we helped MIL onto the bench and put the wheelchair in the corner. When we finished, DH and I went to the counter to pay while FIL helped MIL into the wheelchair. The DC sat there and didn't help, which is what we've always told them to do (they're 14 & 12 so probably could help but we don't want to risk injuring MIL any more). A man at the next table came over and started lecturing the DC about helping their nan! FIL made it very clear that he didn't want help, but the man wouldn't stop talking about how they were being disrespectful and lazy. Whilst he was saying this, he decided he was going to help instead! MIL was distressed by this as she doesn't like being touched by people she doesn't trust. AIBU to think this man was out of order for getting angry at 2 teenagers and attempting to "help" an elderly woman after being told he wasn't wanted multiple times?

Ohdearohdearyme Sat 07-Dec-19 15:42:00


What did the guy do when told not to touch MIL or help?

bridgetreilly Sat 07-Dec-19 15:44:21

Yup, that's properly out of order on both counts.

pooopypants Sat 07-Dec-19 15:45:29

He probably thought he was helping but he (the stranger) was bang out of order

Honeybee85 Sat 07-Dec-19 15:47:03


Rude and intrusive.
I would be very angry if a stranger was harassing my family like this.

Cuddling57 Sat 07-Dec-19 15:49:30

What an idiot he was.
We would be in the same situation and someone could cause more harm than good helping my mum too.

Billben Sat 07-Dec-19 15:52:02

Christ, I would have given him a right bollocking if that was me. And no, I would not want my children helping an elderly, frail person into a wheelchair either.

JenniferM1989 Sat 07-Dec-19 15:57:59

If I was elderly and needed assistance into a wheelchair, I wouldn't want my grandchildren doing it. My DH, DS or his wife/partner fair enough but I wouldn't want my young grandchildren doing it. Handling an elderly woman into a wheelchair is not the same as holding a door open or helping them carry their shopping. The man was out of order 100%

WizardOfAus Sat 07-Dec-19 16:02:22


NearlyOutedMyself Sat 07-Dec-19 16:38:40

It sounds to me as though Angry Man was only 'helping' to make a point, not because he really wanted to help. I'd be furious if some random man started wading into a wheelchair transfer, particularly he'd been told that we could manage. How dare he haul your MIL about!

sweeneytoddsrazor Sat 07-Dec-19 16:43:23

He was very much out of order. However surely only one of you needed to go and pay whukst one of you helped FIL

Lllot5 Sat 07-Dec-19 16:44:13

Had a similar experience in a cafe with my mum once, a complete stranger wanted to take her to the toilet!
My mum told her to stop being daft, of course she couldn’t help.

GruciusMalfoy Sat 07-Dec-19 16:53:18

The man was completely out of order. He had no idea about your MIL's needs, and could have easily hurt her.

MinervaSaidThat Sat 07-Dec-19 16:55:23

But what happened? Did he stop?

Celebelly Sat 07-Dec-19 16:56:45

YANBU. It was helping for show, wasn't it? He wanted everyone to see that he was 'the right sort'. People who genuinely want to help for the good of someone else will ask first and respect the answer.

phoenix1404 Sat 07-Dec-19 16:59:40

I'm a wheelchair user. If people start heaving me around without knowing how to do it, they can injure me. And it's amazing how often people ask if they can help (good), I say thank you but I'm fine, then they do whatever the thing was anyway! (BAD)

The other day I stopped to adjust my position in my chair and some random stopped to check I was OK, ("Uh..yeah?") then actually patted me on the head. Makes me stabby.

Straycatstrut Sat 07-Dec-19 17:02:32

Clearly dealing with his own issues & taking them out on strangers. You politely ask if your help is needed, you don't dive in and start touching people.


Cocolapew Sat 07-Dec-19 17:03:36

I hope you told him where to go.
I was helping a young man who was having a seizure once, the manager of the shop we were in actually had to pull a man off the man on the floor. He was insistent that he needed to put a biro between his teeth and was pushing me out of the way.

Straycatstrut Sat 07-Dec-19 17:06:03

Phoenix people actually pat you on the head like a dog??

I can feel my blood boiling for you! angry

GrumpyHoonMain Sat 07-Dec-19 17:11:40

A lot of people treat disabled people like dogs or kids rather than people with their own agency. I think if possible encourage your mil to speak up but if not then your fil needs to take on a protective stand.

Having said that, however, I think by 12-14 I would expect a child to at least offer to help their grandparents lift things. But this is a seperate parenting issue that you need to raise as a behaviour issue.

Winterdaysarehere Sat 07-Dec-19 17:13:25

Maybe arm mil with a walking stick. Swift clatter on the man's shin would have got rid of him.

Yanbu - my aunt was wheelchair bound and hated 'helpers'..

ReanimatedSGB Sat 07-Dec-19 17:16:50

I bet that man bullies his own family in the guise of 'making them better people'. What a shitbag.

Lulualla Sat 07-Dec-19 17:17:31

Even at 12/14 I dont think I would encourage them unless they've done a moving and handling course. Children that age can do moving and handling courses so its worth looking into it.

Did your FIL speak up? Or your MIL? If she cant speak up for herself then FIL needs to be the gatekeeper and should have stepped in to stop that man, even if that means raising his voice to say "keep your hands off my wife".

Jollitwiglet Sat 07-Dec-19 17:18:19

His behaviour was beyond rude

KurriKurri Sat 07-Dec-19 17:20:03

Having said that, however, I think by 12-14 I would expect a child to at least offer to help their grandparents lift things. But this is a seperate parenting issue that you need to raise as a behaviour issue.

But OP has said that her c hildren have been told not to help as it may do more harm than good. It isn't a parenting issue at all - it would only be a parenting issue if they disobeyed their instructions and manhandled MIL into her wheelchair.

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