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Deaf employee punched at Publix

April 25th, 2018

Liberty Gratz has been working at the Publix on Hull Street Road since it opened last Fall. Out of all the shifts she has completed, what happened on Sunday afternoon is burned into her memory.

“All of a sudden, I felt some woman hit me in my back,” Liberty recounted through her mom Jeanette Gratz’s interpreting.

Liberty is deaf and says she could not hear the woman asking where to find an item in the store when the scene turned violent.

Liberty, who also has vision loss, remembers kneeling down to straighten out a bottom shelf when she felt the knock out of nowhere.

“She doesn’t have that peripheral vision, so she’s really focused on her work,” explains Jeanette. “She doesn’t always notice the people beside her.”

Liberty, who uses American Sign Language (ASL) with family and friends, communicates with shoppers by writing on a pad of paper. 

After the woman got her attention, Liberty says she pointed her in the direction of what she needed.

Liberty, however, carried the blow with her.

“She could still feel it when I picked her up from work,” Jeanette says. “How would you feel if you were working and someone just came up behind you and decided to punch you?”


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