Liberty Gratz is deaf and also suffers from some vision loss, WRIC-TV reported.
While she was working her shift at a Publix supermarket in Midlothian, Virginia, on Sunday, Gratz was kneeling down to straighten out a bottom shelf, the station said.
But a customer near Gratz was trying to get her attention — except Gratz couldn’t hear the customer and didn’t notice the customer due to her limited vision, WRIC said.
“She doesn’t have that peripheral vision, so she’s really focused on her work,” Gratz’s mother, Jeanette Gratz, told the station. “She doesn’t always notice the people beside her.”
How did the customer react?
So the customer tried another approach.
“All of a sudden, I felt some woman hit me in my back,” Gratz recounted to WRIC through her mother using sign language.
Gratz, who communicates with shoppers with a pen and pad of paper, said she pointed the customer in the direction of what she needed, the station reported.
But the effects of the punch stuck around.
“She could still feel it when I picked her up from work,” Jeanette Gratz told WRIC. “How would you feel if you were working and someone just came up behind you and decided to punch you?”
What happened next?
Liberty Gratz told the station that Publix showed a lot of support after the incident, as her department and store managers combed through security footage.
However, the culprit couldn’t be identified, WRIC said.
“They kept looking again and again and again, but you couldn’t see because there were so many people blocking the camera,” Liberty Gratz told the station via sign language her mother spoke on camera. “It was hard for me to really see her face to make sure it was the right person.”
What is her message for her attacker?
Gratz told WRIC that she’d love to sit down with the woman who punched her and have a conversation about being kind to people with and without disabilities.
And she, along with her mother, had something else to say, the station said.
“I know hurt people usually are the ones that hurt people,” Jeanette Gratz told WRIC. “And so whoever it is, they’ve been prayed for. I will continue to pray for them, and I hope that things get better in their life so they can be better to other people.”