In some ways it’s a wonder that there haven’t been more stories like Michael’s on Wednesday’s Liveline. The pandemic has affected everyone in the country, to a greater or lesser extent. And while most people have done their best to adhere to the seemingly-endless restrictions, others have taken a more cavalier attitude. “It’s a weird story,” Joe says, as Michael goes on to explain the supermarket assault that happened to him following an encounter at the checkout a few days after Christmas. Michael and the others in the queue for the till were all masked and observing social distance:
“Then I heard someone behind me say, ‘Could I jump in?’ to the couple with the trolley and so I turned around and there was a lady on my shoulder, literally on my shoulder, with no mask.”
The woman only had a few items, but Michael had already started paying for his own shopping and he wasn’t happy that she was standing so close to him without a mask. He asked her to stand back to maintain a two-metre distance, especially given the fact that she wasn’t wearing a mask.
“And she said to me, ‘Oh, I’m healthy’. And I said, ‘But the numbers are very high’.”
That seemed to be that. Michael packed up his shopping and went to out his car.
“Took off my mask, sanitised my hands. Next thing there’s a big bang on my driver’s window.”
A man was, as Michael put it, shouting and roaring at him. Then the man came around to the other door, opened it and, still shouting, threw a kick at Michael.
“Kicked me, like a kung fu karate kick, into the side of my leg.”
The man was shouting about how Michael shouldn’t “talk to her” and shouldn’t “go near her”. So, clearly he was referring to the woman who had tried to skip the queue at the till. Michael, as you might expect, was in something like a state of shock, but he still attempted to get a photo of the licence plate of the man’s car.
“Next thing he’s out, right over into my face. Roaring and shouting and aggressive. I thought I was going to be decked there and then.”
Fortunately for Michael, the man was persuaded to stand down by another man in the car and his girlfriend. Michael went into the store, spoke to the manager and was assured that CCTV footage would be made available to him. Then he went home, had his dinner and drove to his local Garda station to report the supermarket assault. That was Michael’s not-at-all peaceful post-Christmas.
To hear the full conversation between Joe and Michael, go here.
Niall Ó Sioradáin
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