For some people, the urge to help others in potential danger is one that comes naturally.
But sometimes acting on your instincts instead of waiting until you have more information can lead to trouble.
Reddit user screamedatstylist recently had one such encounter with a hairstylist, so she turned to the subReddit "Am I the A**hole" (AITA) to see if she was in the wrong for how she reacted, asking:
"AITA for getting angry at a hairstylist who called the authorities?"
The original poster (OP) explained what happened.
"This is absolutely wild to me."
"I (18F(emale)) am back from college and recently went to a new hair salon with my best friend (18F)."
"Gemma is deaf, was wearing a Gallaudet shirt (it says 'Gallaudet University, School for the Deaf' on it), and wanted to go blonder, because of the fact that everyone has to wear masks, she can't use her lip reading skills and instead uses her phone or uses sign language."
"We went to get our hair done together and I decided to help her out and show the new hairstylist what she wanted with her hair and explain in detail how she wanted her hair done."
"Did I sort of hover? Yes, I did."
"I noticed that the hairstylist was getting out the wrong things and I went over three times to tell her while Gemma sat there quietly, not knowing what the hell was going on."
"The stylist started to act really strangely and started to talk to Gemma, snap her fingers near her ears, and finally said she was taking a break and went off to the back room of the hair salon for a few minutes."
"At this point, Gemma and I decided that the service was shit and that it was time to go. Before we could leave, the hairstylist came back and literally kept us there. She made excuses, started talking, and stalled and prevented us from leaving."
"The cops arrived like 10 minutes later and Gemma and I were separated and I was taken into one area."
"I was asked a few questions and I answered, I showed them pictures of us as children and our instagram and snap stories, I called my dad, and the cops understood everything."
"It turns out that the hairstylist had assumed that Gemma was being human trafficked because she was 'catatonic' in her chair, she was unresponsive, she seemed agitated by 'waving' her hands around, and I was doing all of the talking for her."
"The cops left and I went out there to scream at the hairstylist, I used some choice words, called her some mean things, and, because it's a chain, I forced her to call her manager so that I could watch her get fired on the spot. I was extremely angry and I told her that she was the stupidest B in the world for all of the drama."
"AITA for screaming at the stylist? We left with a lot of free stuff and gift cards but my friends say that she was doing her job, I think that she was a nosy b*tch."
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You're The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
They seemed pretty split, especially since the OP never said whether or not she made it clear to the stylist that Gemma is deaf.
"ESH. (Except Gemma) I was with you until the cops explained the concern was for human trafficking."
"The struggle for people who lip read even partially is real! They often need people to help right now."
"Did you explain that she is deaf and give the hairstylist the idea that she could type things to her so she could answer for herself?"
"The hairstylist could have handled it way better and figured out a way to communicate with Gemma before she escalated the situation to involve the police."
"You should have handled your temper better and understand that if your friend was being trafficked she would have been saved."
"Also I do believe hairdressers are taught to notice the signs of abuse and respond to them by calling the police."—pudge-thefish
"In my opinion it's N-T-A because the hairstylist never apologized and instead doubled down."—cringekid1515
"No way, from the way this reads it sounds like OP never bothered letting the stylist know Gemma is deaf and just assumed she would read her 'school for the deaf' shirt and get it."
"So to this hairstylist, it was a normal girl who couldn't/wouldn't speak for herself and some overbearing stranger making all the decisions on this girl's looks and for what reason?"
"Well her mind went to the worst scenario (for a good reason) and she decided better safe than sorry. OP then got mad about her failure to communicate (which is ironic) and blew up?"
"She didn't get in any trouble, the cops didn't give her a hard time, this lady was just trying to be safe with her clients. OP is a major a**hole here for her reaction and failure to establish the basic 'she is deaf, i will be helping.'"
"OP never explained Gemma is Deaf. The rest is irrelevant. It's so beyond bizarre to have this whole interaction and never mention Gemma being Deaf."—Fox-Smol
"I have a sweater that's says STANFORD LAW on it. I did NOT go to Stanford law."—Rachey65
"Also - I've never been to a hairstylist that didn't put a cover for me - so she's banking on Gemma's shirt for the brief moment the hairstylist sees her during the the walk from the front to the chair."—Goldzebrariver
Some even praised the stylist for trying to help, even if she turned out to be wrong.
"There's a pretty good argument the hair stylist did the right thing in calling the police. She's not likely to do that on a whim, after all."
"That it turned out Gemma was not being trafficked didn't retroactively make her concerns wrong. She's not obliged to apologize for doing the right thing, especially to someone screaming at her."
"All OP has done is increase the risk that other girls who *are* being trafficked won't be rescued."
"I once broke my elbow for the second time in 6 months. My (ex) boyfriend was a big and grumpy dude."
"They held me longer at the hospital and sent him out of the room with an excuse because they were worried I was a domestic abuse victim."
"If someone caring is worried and makes a mistake out of care it's not ok to yell at them. I understand the situation was horrible but she did the thing she thought was right."—Poekienijn
"I'm deaf. What op did is actually wrong."
"She took away Gemma's agency completely in this situation."
"She outright admits to talking to the hair dresser about Gemma when Gemma literally had no idea what was going on. That's absolutely an a**hole move."
"She could have communicated to her friend what was going on, Gemma could have communicated back, and op could have then interpreted to the hairdresser."
"No wonder the hairdresser thought Gemma was being trafficked - she was not included or involved at all in the decision making that was about her."
"Hairdresser had only good intentions, as a deaf person would be extremely vulnerable in a trafficking situation. The police were called not on Gemma, but on OP who is not deaf."—yukonwanderer
All in all, it sounds like lack of communication was likely the culprit in this situation. Hopefully all parties involved will learn from this experience.