Woman Filmed Berating Store Employees Then Coughs On Cancer Patient

One of the most amazing (read: terrible) things about the “Karen” phenomenon is that these women demanding to speak to managers (or cops or other “authority figures) and hold others accountable for things that generally aren’t worth bothering over are absolutely loathe to be held responsible for their own atrocious behavior.

A woman in Jacksonville, Florida witnessed that firsthand when she made a point to hold an angry woman at a store accountable for berating employees and the woman retaliated by coming over and coughing directly in her face.

Heather Sprague shared the story of her encounter on Facebook last week, saying that she “learned firsthand the power of conscientious bystanders.”

The mother of ten (yes, you read that right) went into Pier 1 while waiting for her appointment at the Mayo Clinic, where she is currently being treated for a brain tumor.

While there, she noticed two small children wandering around and said she eventually realized “they belonged to a woman at the register who was becoming increasingly belligerent.”

“She was screaming at, swearing, insulting, and threatening the staff as she demanded to return an item she didn’t have with her, just a photo of the item on her phone,” Sprague wrote. “The staff were professional and respectful. But they couldn’t return an item she didn’t actually have with her.”

According to Sprague, the woman kept escalating things with the employees, ultimately blocking them from leaving the checkout area and “screamed that she would stay right there, yelling as loud as she wanted, until all their customers left.”

It was at that point that Sprague decided to take out her phone and film the woman, wordlessly and at a distance.

Yesterday I learned firsthand the power of conscientious bystanders. It took 30 seconds to end 15 minutes of aggressive...

Posted by Heather Reed Sprague on Thursday, June 25, 2020

The video shows the woman immediately switching gears and getting angry with Sprague instead of the employees. She first flips her off, and when that doesn’t appear to garner any sort of reaction, she instead walks over to Sprague and coughs directly in her face before gathering up her children and leaving.

“When bullies are faced with accountability they must acknowledge the unacceptability of their actions,” Sprague wrote. “Within 30 seconds of filming her tirade was done and she left the poor staff in peace.”

It didn’t take internet sleuths long to figure out who the woman was.

And once folks realized that she not only coughed on a cancer patient, but did so after verbally assaulting store employees over something absurd, they had some choice words for her.


Sprague told KBMT that she filed an incident report that was passed up the chain to Pier 1’s corporate office but doesn’t currently plan to press charges. 

“I just think it’s wise not to give our power away to those who don’t deserve it,” she said. “So, if I let her make me frustrated, angry or consumed by this — then that takes away my availability to my children, and she shouldn’t have that power.”