I, Anonymous

A Voice for the Powerless

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Steven Weissman

You were behind me in line at Starbucks. You were a fortysomething guy with your young son in tow. When he told you he had to go to the bathroom, you said, "Why?!" That got my attention. He continued, pleading with you to take him to the bathroom, crying that he REALLY had to go. Again you dismissed him, telling him, "That's what your diaper is for!" Clearly distraught, your child was forced to go in his pants, old enough to know better, but given no other option. What's worse is that after he was made to go in his pants, you berated him for asking and told him that "bathroom time is only when we are at home," and that he needs to get used to using his diaper in public. What kind of parent does that to their child? What kind of message do you think that sends? I'm shocked that you would be so uncaring and unsupportive of your son's willingness to actually use the bathroom. Based on your blatant neglect, I would be willing to bet that this kid was probably potty trained by the mother, who would I'm sure be shitting a brick right now if she knew what kind of a lazy, dismissive, and abusive piece of shit you are. I bet you let that kid sit in his mess all day. You asshole. And all of this was because you needed your fucking extra hot soy latte and didn't want to lose your spot in line.


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Comments (57) RSS

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Sometimes I think I'm not doing so well as a parent, and then something like this reminds me that I'm doing just fine. What the fucking fuck?
Posted by paulus22 on January 22, 2014 at 10:02 AM · Report this
God forbid you actually say something to the man while he was right there in front of you.
Posted by mytvmyfriend on January 22, 2014 at 10:17 AM · Report this
That man is a sick pig. I hope his wife sees this and recognizes him from it..or CPS.
Posted by woofy on January 22, 2014 at 12:50 PM · Report this
TheGlove 4
What good is wearing a diaper if you can't take a dump in it?
Posted by TheGlove on January 22, 2014 at 12:56 PM · Report this
Posted by pjc on January 22, 2014 at 1:56 PM · Report this
Public bathrooms are disgusting, which is why I never go out without my Depends.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on January 22, 2014 at 4:55 PM · Report this
Seattlebcc 7
Well in about 35 years I'm sure the old man will get what he served when he's made to sit in his poopy Depends, lamenting why his kid(s) never visit him. Everyone pays the piper for their actions one way or another in life! Enjoy that soy latte now Pops!
Posted by Seattlebcc on January 22, 2014 at 6:24 PM · Report this
So what modifications did you make to your drink that were so important that you couldn't actually raise your all-powerful voice in defense of this child?
Posted by treehugger on January 22, 2014 at 7:33 PM · Report this
mtnlion 9
@8, great point.

Why are you only so passionate and righteous behind the veil of online anonymity?
Posted by mtnlion on January 22, 2014 at 10:04 PM · Report this
staring 10
Amen #8. If you see abuse speak up! I once watched a grandmother BEAT (not spank) her grandaughter while 6 people stood there pretending not to notice. It was scary but I stood up to her while dialing 911. I think a little public shaming might have done this father some good!
Posted by staring on January 23, 2014 at 8:50 AM · Report this
I'll bet the wife knows, too. He's probably just as controlling to her.
Posted by portland scribe on January 23, 2014 at 9:35 AM · Report this
This one makes me sad like others don't.
Posted by ohthetrees on January 23, 2014 at 10:12 AM · Report this
RTam 13
Sometimes speaking up and publicly shaming a parent like that will only make it worse for the kid when they're alone. It's not an easy call to make, no matter how simple it seems from a distance.
Posted by RTam on January 23, 2014 at 11:11 AM · Report this
monkwild 14
This story makes me feel sick, inside. My heart breaks for that kiddo.
Having said that, I think that there are a few ways that you could have addressed this situation in order to help the boy.
Yes, you would have antagonized the dad. But I, for one, can think of times in my past that I was called out on bad behaviour. These are some of the ways, albeit painfully, that we grow.
If you see that man again, you can always take him aside, and speak from the heart without being a meanie. He might even hear you.
Posted by monkwild on January 23, 2014 at 11:28 AM · Report this
Seeing as this was in Seattle, are you sure the young son wasn't really a midget with a choke chain around his cock, The entire exchange being an elaborate S&M event?

No, you are not.
Posted by Tard on January 23, 2014 at 4:20 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 16
Over the years I've come to the realization that I don't hate children. Children are largely fine, willing and able to listen and learn. I actually hate their parents.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 23, 2014 at 5:24 PM · Report this
what starbucks was this, just asking, no reason
Posted by potential bad dad on January 24, 2014 at 11:29 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 18
Fucking Chaos, that poor kid! Dad is probably a fulminating hypochondriac who thinks public restrooms are where diseases come from.

I'll give you three to one that they're anti-vaxxers, too.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on January 24, 2014 at 11:33 AM · Report this
@10 Yes, well done!!

Holy fuck. That is SO wrong...
Posted by Chandira on January 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM · Report this
Yes, that's right everyone: this asshole man is married to an angel woman because, you know, assholes and angels are so attracted to each other.
Posted by parisimo on January 24, 2014 at 2:32 PM · Report this
@ 10 Its not exactly right what happened but doesn't mean abuse.
Posted by Seattle14 on January 24, 2014 at 2:52 PM · Report this
Also @ 10 how are you defining beat here, just wondering.
Posted by Seattle14 on January 24, 2014 at 2:53 PM · Report this
yep, nothing is more annoying to a parent than having to take extra time for a child who hasn't quite mastered his bowel control yet. I think most of us have been on the receiving end of that. Even if we were slightly too young to remember it. unfortunately, some of us do remember it.
Posted by whowho on January 25, 2014 at 10:16 AM · Report this
pinksoda 24
Sometimes it’s not necessary to shame but to come from a place of kindness, “You know, I’d be happy to order your drink for you while you take your child to the bathroom. I know it’s hard for kids to hold it or know exactly when they need to go at that age.”

Even if the guy is a total tool, you’re acknowleging the truth: it can be inconvenient to stop everything for toileting ... and it’s important to be able to do so. You’re also showing the dad and the kid that people can be accommodating and kind when needs happen outside of our control.

Posted by pinksoda on January 25, 2014 at 10:52 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 25
How long was the line at Starbucks?
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 26
Did you see the Guardian story today? Edward Snowden's latest bombshell is that the average parent fucks something up somehow more than 100 times per day.

Now the secret is out.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 25, 2014 at 11:39 AM · Report this
@13 True, but when people don't speak up the child learns that this is an acceptable way to be treated. After all, the parent does it in public, and other adults seem fine with it, so it must be okay. And that message is one of the most dangerous messages an abused child can get.
Posted by uncreative on January 25, 2014 at 11:40 AM · Report this
raindrop 28
I would have said to him, quite forcefully: "How about you take your son to the restroom and I'll order your beverages for you and you can pay me when you get back - or add money to my Starbucks card if you don't have cash?"

Posted by raindrop on January 25, 2014 at 11:55 AM · Report this
Simple 29
potty training a child is not always an easy and obvious task. that parent might have taken that kid to the potty 15 times in the last hour. trust me that happens. teaching self control is part of training process. none of us know the whole story and taking a slice of time out of context can make anyone look the fool. non parents are usually oblivious to the real grind that parenting can be. it has many rewards and i could not give away one second of it, but this might not be that bad.
Posted by Simple on January 25, 2014 at 12:04 PM · Report this
@29 That would all be relevant if the father hadn't explicitly stated that the child was only allowed to go to the bathroom at home. Since the father did, your comment seems off-topic for this case.
Posted by uncreative on January 25, 2014 at 12:08 PM · Report this
@29 Well, according to Anonymous the dad told the kid to use his diaper. That does not sound like he is teaching him to use self-control. The kid told his father because he clearly couldn't hold it in anymore and needed to use the restroom. The father was just being a selfish asshole.
Posted by Buffy on January 25, 2014 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Wow talk about an overreaction, the kid had a diaper on he wasn't forced to go in his pants.

If you called the police to report this "abuse" they would laugh at you and tell you to live your own life.

Now if a husband is beating his wife yes you call the police.

Posted by dkjndmsahksdhksal on January 25, 2014 at 1:25 PM · Report this
Speaking of privledge...

This guy very well may be a real piece of work, but there are also many, many way this could have been the most reasoned and reasonable response, especially with a differently-abled child.

Let's also not forget that one of the big reasons we treat children as children is because they often don't know any better; just because this kid said he should go to the bathroom at Starbucks doesn't mean that is necessarily true.

Anecdotally, as a parent, on those occasions when my offer to explain the full situation was accepted, more often than not, said busybody ended up slinking away unvindicated.

Anyway, it's very possible that all you hypothetical heroes are the real fucksticks.
Posted by Not Everyone Can Be An Exceptionally Horrible Parent on January 25, 2014 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Father was frickin batshit, but well within his parenting rights vis a vis intervention.

Me? Anything I could do to support voluntary potty independence was a priority. Why would I want to be changing diapers and wiping up butts with messy shit on it if I could avoid it? (that said, once you have a baby it ends up not being quite as bad as you imagined it would)
Posted by cracked on January 25, 2014 at 1:47 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 35
Some priorities, dad. Fuck you, you fucking fuck! When I was in first grade I told my parents I could not see the blackboard. They called me a liar. I was constantly berated about my grades. I went ten more years before an aunt convinced them to take me to see an eye doctor. That's just one small example of why I don't care to see them anymore. I hope your kid screws you.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on January 25, 2014 at 1:48 PM · Report this
@34 Excuse me. The father IS frickin' batshit.
Posted by cracked on January 25, 2014 at 2:52 PM · Report this
Some day this father will be old and incontinent, and his son will have to change his Depends. Or not.
Posted by Don't you think he looks tired? on January 25, 2014 at 3:40 PM · Report this
@24 had the right answer; offer to help. If he turns you down, he's gotten the shaming he deserves and if he does, great for the kid.

The only way a kid learns to use the bathroom is to use it. It isn't fun toilet-training a child and it's particularly hard when you are not at home. That they were in a place with an easy access bathroom makes me wonder about this dad.

But he's likely not the one doing the toilet-training so he doesn't care.

And yes, someday the tables may be turned. Dad should remember that.
Posted by westello on January 25, 2014 at 3:55 PM · Report this
Rotten666 39
Haha. Potty training is a nightmare. There were times where I would spend the entire afternoon in the toilet with the kid, waiting for him to shit or pee. False alarms over and over. Very frustrating...You bet your ass I got to the point of "well I guess you're just going to have to shit in your diaper, buddy".

All part of the process really, kid's gotta learn that a full diaper is uncomfortable.

A great overreaction from the peanut gallery, as per the usual.

Posted by Rotten666 on January 25, 2014 at 4:00 PM · Report this
yucca flower 40
I bet you he left that kid in dirty diapers until he could drag it home and dump it on the mother.
Posted by yucca flower on January 25, 2014 at 5:24 PM · Report this
@39 is exactly right. This guy's style of parenting and potty training sounds pretty different than mine, but I feel for him much more than than Anonymous. But at least she is just (ignorantly) venting about it here, unlike the idiots calling for her to have confronted the parent. What sort of busy-bodied sociopath would go up to a random parent in a coffee shop and tell him - in front of his child - that they don't approve of the way he is potty training his kid in diapers? Fuck.
Posted by facet on January 25, 2014 at 6:03 PM · Report this
Simple 42
#30 uncreative, you are properly monikered.
#31 how many children have you potty trained? dogs, cats and miserable ex do not count.
#39 we all have been there.
This is an example of how the book "go to fucking sleep already" was penned.
Posted by Simple on January 25, 2014 at 6:55 PM · Report this
It's a pretty hard rule in this culture that you don't interfere with anyone's parenting unless it actually crosses the line to abuse. I never yelled at my kids - let alone struck them - but I see parents who do. It's not my place to intervene - nor is it yours. That's just one of the rules of our society.

Now, if it crosses the line to abuse then we all have an obligation to take action. This event, while unfortunate and somewhat horrific, does not sink to the legal definition of abuse.
Posted by Charlie Mas on January 25, 2014 at 8:13 PM · Report this
...yeah, y'all, telling a parent that they're abusing their child is a great way to get assaulted, and maybe anon wasn't up for getting punched that day

I think that's pretty reasonable
Posted by eptified on January 25, 2014 at 8:32 PM · Report this
sirkowski 45
Jesus christ, how horrifying.
Posted by sirkowski on January 25, 2014 at 10:17 PM · Report this
raindrop 46
It is most definitely abusive. It was emotional abuse to have this toddler go in this diaper and suffer the embarrassment in public. Did he have to go #1 or #2? Imagine all the folks in line thinking that they might endure the smell.
This isn't "hold it son, we're almost there" if they were driving - this is humiliation in public. Very damaging.
(I overlooked @24's comment before writing @28.)
And for those like @44, who are timid to do with right thing because they don't want a potential knuckle sandwich from the father - well all I can say is that, well, wimps are not good role models.
Posted by raindrop on January 26, 2014 at 10:17 AM · Report this
People are either going to have to get used to such barbaric, vulgar and uncivilized behavior, or else man up and take a stand against it!


Because so many hedge funds have either been founded here recently, or relocasted here, and I'll wager this dood was a hedge fundster?

Any takers?
Posted by sgt_doom on January 26, 2014 at 12:41 PM · Report this
wilbur@work 48
bad behavior at Starbucks?

Posted by wilbur@work on January 26, 2014 at 9:02 PM · Report this
yeah, step up to offer help. it’s the most civilized way, for sure. offer to hold his place in line. it sends a message to him that taking his kid to the bathroom is important, without getting him on the defensive, and making a scene in front of his kid. it’s so obviously the best way, i don’t know how anyone could argue against it.
Posted by ellarosa on January 26, 2014 at 11:48 PM · Report this
What a pinhead! I hope he has a wetfart.
Posted by treereaper on January 26, 2014 at 11:51 PM · Report this
What 29, 39, and 41 said. This thread is another fun case of ignorant non-parents judging something they don't understand. Maybe there's a few parents who had kids who trained early and easily. And of course there's a nice bunch of assumptions being made here because the parent is a father, not the mother.
Posted by David from Chicago on January 27, 2014 at 7:32 AM · Report this
So shocked that you had to address the issue in an anonymous letter long after the fact. I'm doubting your story.
Posted by bakatya on January 27, 2014 at 10:13 AM · Report this
I think 18 is right: dad won't poop anywhere but home. Probably takes a long lunch break from work so he can drive home to do his business. And there's no reasoning with that in line at Starbucks. That's above I, Anon's pay grade.
Posted by meganc on January 27, 2014 at 3:18 PM · Report this
I love these I Anonymous' but damn Seattle is so fucking passive aggressive and this is the proof. Why the hell didn't you speak up!!? Most of other people's shit isn't our business but this kid's shit is. This fuck head of a dad needed to be called out in public, I doubt he'll ever read this. Wake up Seattle and stop being a bunch of pussies and if you witness this type of asshole parent let them know, because this is child abuse.
Posted by jguy83 on January 28, 2014 at 3:39 PM · Report this
@ Rotten66 #39: yeah potty training is a bitch and it can be frustrating as all hell. But when the kid is in public and tells you they have to go and you just knowingly let them shit in their diaper, it DOES make you a fucking lazy parent. This dick-head wasn't stuck in traffic or at a place with no stalls, he's another zombie in line at fucking Starbucks. Jesus fucking christ who gives a shit, go take your kid to the bathroom if they ask, you're at a coffee shop with a bathroom! This type of parenting is probably where shit and piss fetishes come from.
Posted by jguy83 on January 28, 2014 at 3:59 PM · Report this
monkwild 56
@ 29 39 and 55. Reread the article: Only allowed to shit at home? That is horrendous parenting, and needs to be called out.
And the assumption that all who support this position are holier-than-thou non-parents, is presumptuous and incorrect.
I've wiped butts in parks, on roadsides, in alleyways and in all manner of public bathrooms.
Sometimes I was late, sometimes I was exhausted and other times I was just plain fed up. And yet I would never have dreamed of telling my kid to shit his pants when he was trying so hard to get it right.
Posted by monkwild on January 29, 2014 at 9:52 PM · Report this
Can't wait till this kid becomes a serial killer preying on incontinent nursing home patients!
Posted by arachnar on February 6, 2014 at 8:01 PM · Report this

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