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McDonald's customer 'traumatizes' misbehaving teen, sends video to his mom. AITA?

McDonald's customer 'traumatizes' misbehaving teen, sends video to his mom. AITA?


"AITA for Scaring a Misbehaving Teen and Sending a Video to His Mom?"

I never dine in at McDonald's, but I did recently, and it turned out to be quite the eventful experience. The place was swarming with a bunch of kids, around 15-16 years old, who were causing a ruckus. They were particularly obnoxious, running up behind elderly customers, screaming "I have a knife!" and thoroughly terrorizing everyone.

Fed up with their antics, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I secretly recorded the one who seemed to be the ringleader, especially when he was pretending to threaten an old man with a fake knife.

Then, I confronted him. I grabbed him by the collar, demanded his phone while yelling "GIVE ME YOUR PHONE!" He was clearly scared, thinking he was being robbed, and handed over his phone. I made him unlock it, found the contact named "Mom," and from my phone, I sent her the video of her son's deplorable behavior.

After returning his phone, I went back to my seat, and soon enough, the kids left. On my way home I called my phone and narrated the whole episode to my wife, expecting her to appreciate my actions. To my surprise, she called me an ahole. She argued that I might have traumatized the kid and handled the situation poorly.

Now, I'm in a dilemma. I thought I was teaching the kid a lesson and protecting others from their harassment. But was my method too extreme? Did I cross a line? AITA here?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

DaniCapsFan said:

Oh, you scared the rotten little teenager? Well, he was scaring other people in the restaurant. The kid is lucky you did nothing worse than send a video of his misbehavior to his mother. NTA.

Jealous_Singer4670 said:

NTA. You could have gotten yourself in trouble, that's for sure, but you know what? Sometimes it's worth it.

No, you didn't traumatize the kid. You could've called the police instead, and gotten him arrested for assault. Because fake knife or not, he was assaulting people. You didn't.

Maybe the elderly being chased were traumatized, though, and maybe now they feel safer. And maybe his mom, now in the know, will handle the situation, and set some boundaries.

Actions have consequences. That's a good lesson, not a traumatic one. The kid and his mom should be grateful you only shared the video with them and not the police.

eevona said:

NTA! Thank you for getting involved.

Lucky-Guess8786 said:

NTA. You were brilliant in the way you handled this. I sure hope the mom of the bully takes action after seeing the video. As for your wife, if you decide to become parents, I hope you have some serious discussions around what you see parenting as before becoming pregnant.

Usual_Bumblebee_8274 said:

Esh. Never snatch up someone’s child. Ever. Not only could someone have pulled a weapon, you could be charged or someone else may decide to step in on kid's behalf. I totally get what you were going for. But that could have went sideways quickly.

lonedroan said:

ESH. The teens’ actions were awful for self explanatory reasons (the knife prank alone was likely assault). But your actions likely created criminal and civil liability for you.

By causing the teen to reasonably fear violence, you very likely assaulted him, and grabbing the collar was very likely battery. By demanding and then taking the phone you may have committed robbery and/or additional battery. And you may face even more liability for forcing the teen to unlock the phone.

If you wanted the teen to face consequences, you should have filed a police report and submitted your video. You could also have shared the video with the restaurant and probably online (subjects were in public, but them being minors warrants confirming before sharing with public).

The opinions were fairly divided for this one, but what's your advice for this situation?

Sources: Reddit
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