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From Tiff: When Should You Be a Jerk and When Should You Shut Up?

Last summer we spent a long weekend at a new Holiday Inn Resort in Florida. It was a fun trip to hang out at the beach and the pool and catch up with family.

The Holiday Inn Resort had kids activities throughout the week so there were employees in charge of running these activities.

At one point we notice that some boys (maybe about 12) are messing with one of the employees and are trying to pull her into the pool. She obviously does not want to get pulled in, and is struggling against them but isn’t fighting back. I assume this is because 1) she’s an adult and 2) she works for the hotel. I’m surprised that I don’t see one of their parents step in and tell them to knock it off, but the kids stop on their own.

Great, the kids got bored with that and moved on to doing something else. No problem.

Then about 10 minutes later they’re doing it again. This time one of the kids is pulling her by the hair to try and pull her in the pool. That is the moment I transform into what I’ll refer to as “Academy Tiff”. I still do not see any parents or anyone stepping in to stop this, so I do.

I walk up to them and ask what the hell they think they’re doing? First, you NEVER pull a woman by the hair and second, they’re messing with someone who can only tell them to knock it off. She feels she can’t fight back because she’s afraid of losing her job. So I spend the next couple of minutes telling them off until I get enough “yes ma’ams” in reply that I’m convinced they’re not going to do it again and then I walk away.

Was I a jerk? Probably. Do I regret what I did? Absolutely not. The employee came up to me later and thanked me and another guest told me later she saw what I did and was glad I did it. That was fine and I appreciated it, but what really bothered me was that NO ONE else said anything to help this woman. It was completely obvious this wasn’t a game, she wasn’t having fun, she wanted them to stop, yet nobody else thought it was their place to say or do anything about it.

I know there’s a time when we should mind our own business, but there’s also a time when we should feel obligated to step in and help others.

About Tiff

Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 10 and 6, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.

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7 comments

  1. Personally I don’t think standing up to bullies doesn’t make you a jerk. She was caught in a bad situation and you helped.

  2. You weren’t a jerk at all – not stepping in would have been jerky.

  3. I agree with Carl and Bill. The word you are looking for is “hero.”

  4. You should be proud that you helped out! Thank goodness for responsible adults like you.

  5. Jeanne Marie Hoffman

    I definitely wish there were people like you there when I worked as a bartender! The balance of when-can-I-tell-someone-off and when do I need to just deal with things was really hard, and you always err on the side of not getting fired. Thanks for speaking up, not many people do.

  6. Not only were you NOT a jerk, you did the right thing. Punk kids who obviously have no respect for others were physically assaulting someone. That not only shouldn’t happen, its borderline criminal. You never put your hands on someone else, certainly not an employee of a hotel who you don’t know. The kids were 100% wrong in their actions and you absolutely did the right thing in stopping them.

  7. You rock and did the right thing. My wife does stuff like that. She has that same skill at stepping into a situation and demanding action like that. She is really effective with kids. I only wish I had as much skill. Many folks don’t or assume that it’s not their business.

    People like you (and many of us) are why it will be hard for anyone to ever fly planes full of people into buildings again. While your situation doesn’t compare to Flight 93 it is an attitude of helping others.

    “Let’s Roll”

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