What’s the Appropriate Response When Someone Spits in Your Face?

Send to Kindle

It’s the middle of the day. You’re in a verbal spat with a person you don’t know at a major retail outlet over something trivial. The argument escalates, name-calling ensues:

Agitator: “You’re a bastard.”

You: “You’re a bastard.”

Agitator: “Your son’s a bastard.”

You: “Your son’s a bastard.”

Agitator: “Your dad’s a bastad.”

You: “Your dad’s a bastard.”

Agitator: “Your mom’s a bastard.”

You: “Your mom’s a bastard.”

Agitator: “How dare you call my mom a ‘bastard!'”

You: “Huh?”

Following that last insult of all insults, the agitator spits directly in your face. My question to you is, how do you respond?

Jessica Albitz claims the contract employee spit in her face, though it's not clear by the video if that was the case.  (Photo: ABC 7)

Jessica Albitz claims the contract employee spit in her face, though it’s not clear by the video if that was the case. (Photo: ABC 7)

I suppose my anger would probably get the best of me in that situation and it might come to fisticuffs. Ideally though, you never let the argument get to that point and you walk away and retreat before it happens.

I raise this question because of a video that’s gone viral of two women fighting at a WalMart in La Porte, Texas. Now, in this video, a fight breaks out between a shopper — identified as Jessica Albitz — and a contract worker — identified as Alice Keener.

“Take your poor a– up out of this store,” the worker said according to ABC 7, adding “your momma’s a b—h.”

According to Albitz, during their verbal showdown, Keener spit in her face. Albitz responded by craning back her neck and headbutting the bigger Keener. It was an anticipatory strike but it proved to be a big mistake.

Following the headbutt, Keener grabbed the 106-pound woman and slammed her head into a nearby table five times and then dragged her to the floor by her hair. Eventually, someone intervened and separated the two women.

Moral of the story: avoid physical confrontations whenever possible. Be the bigger, by that I mean wiser person, and walk away. You never know what is going to happen when the brawling starts that’s why it’s best to simply walk away. Your ego heals a lot quicker than your head.

Your take on this unexpected bout?

{ 54 comments… add one }
  • Sam June 23, 2017, 3:21 pm

    Well, if you are a police officer, you shoot the bastard. He might have AIDS, and your life is in danger. If you are a civilian, you shoot the bastard. He dis-respected you, and you can’t let your homies see that.

  • Punish Evil Humans With Pain January 9, 2016, 8:42 am

    A palm-heel at a 45 degree angle into the nose is a nice response to spit in the face. I worry about STDs because of all of the filthy sub-humans running around. Spit would be equal to a knife stab in my mind and it would be time to maim someone. This is all my personal choice, follow it at your own risk.

    • Don't get angry May 1, 2017, 9:41 am

      A palm heel strike to the nose can shear off the cartilage in the nose and send that “bone” fragment into the brain. Instantly killing the person. Not the proper response for being spat upon. Don’t get physical, it will only escalate from there and you’ll both be arrested. Not smart if you want to keep your CCW.

  • Northerner February 24, 2015, 1:37 am

    it is very hard to be the bigger person but its best to be and just walk away from that type of situation, no matter how hard the other person makes it because when your in the heat of a fight anything can happen and when it does, like something simple as the person falling back and hitting their head and dying you will be held libel for manslaughter! one stupid decision not to walk away can ruin your life and those who love you!

  • Larry February 20, 2015, 4:02 pm

    I had a uncle who spit in somebodies face because he did not like him.The proceeded to knock him on his ass. As far as I’m concerned my uncle had it coming

  • Bobby February 18, 2015, 8:13 pm

    I’d like to believe that I’d be able to turn and walk away but just the thought of someone launching a lunger in my face is enough to make me go off. God Forbid that it ever really happen to me…I REALLY pray that I could walk away…..the consequences for not doing so would be bad…..REAL BAD.

  • Kimberpross February 17, 2015, 5:35 pm

    Walk away, regardless. You never know for sure when the other person is mentally ill, carrying a knife, or a firearm. There is no way that will end well.

  • Entropy February 16, 2015, 7:56 pm

    Spit is a bodily fluid and is a medical biohazard. Do it to a cop and its full blown assault. We are talking people with AIDS have spit on others trying to give it to them, plus there’s hepatitis. Its a real assault people.

  • Ditpook February 16, 2015, 7:17 pm

    When I was 21, I was working a sound board at a concert and the band’s manager didn’t like the way it sounded. I refused to change it because one of his people was the cause and he grabbed me by the shoulders and slammed me into a wall. I just walked away an out of the building, called my boss, and my friend who was a policeman on duty that night. The manager was threatened with assault charges and was never let back at the venue.

  • Go hunt February 16, 2015, 6:56 pm

    When the State has open-carry law, this kind of s___ goes away.

    • loupgarous June 21, 2015, 9:16 pm

      I live in an open carry state and you’d be surprised how much of this stuff happens. The Shootout at the OK Corral (in an open-carry state, although one of the Clanton brothers was arrested by one of the Earps for violating a city ordinance for carrying in city limits without a permit) was an incident like this (a Clanton dissing the Earps to deflect entirely justified suspicion that a couple of the Clantons had ratted a few of their associates out to the Earps in eschange for a slice of the reward money).

  • big swede February 16, 2015, 6:37 pm

    Fortunately I am not a real small person so this shit does not happen to me. But whether dealing with someone smaller or larger my response would probably be to ignore the first comment; if followed by a second insult, tell the person to fuck off before he gets hurt and immediately throw a punch. Like, he is thinking I am not going to do anything so he’s mentally sneering and preparing his third insult. After that I trot out my judo/Kung fu moves until he is subdued. Then drop trou and squat over him and shit on his unconscious carcass. Right after that beat my chest and yell like Tarzan so any of his buds nearby know I am a person not to be messed with. Or I might avoid all that and draw my custom $5000 AR pistol with free float quad rail and foregrip, laser, 2000 lumen tactical light, spring-assist bayonet, and flash bang grenade launcher to secure the perp and a 200 meter perimeter.

    Had you thinking at first this was a serious reply, didn’t I.

    • Russ February 27, 2015, 12:18 pm

      No. I had you figured out at “this shit does not happen to me”

  • PengieP February 16, 2015, 6:27 pm

    Wise words indeed. De-escalating a situation and/or walking away is what intelligent people do. Getting involved in this type of incident is a clear example of ignoring Mark Twain’s advice: “Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” Just walk away- remember nothing you do will “fix” a stupid person with whom you have the misfortune to argue.

  • BRASS February 16, 2015, 6:02 pm

    In this day and age, physical confrontations are unnecessary and avoidable in 99.9% of cases or close to it.
    A. Don’t argue with strangers.
    B. If someone argues with you, walk away. Apologize and walk away if necessary, it costs you nothing whereas getting arrested or sued will cost a lot.
    C. If someone spits in your face, file assault charges if you must do something.
    D. Never make threats, they will come back to haunt you.
    E. Everyone has a phone and all cameras have cameras (for all practical purposes). You must assume there will be video and audio evidence of your actions but not necessarily of your aggressor, depending on who witnesses are likely to side with.
    Analogies that apply: 1. If you don’t want to be attacked in dark allies, don’t go into dark alleys. 2. If you don’t want to get into bar fights, don’t go to the types of bars where these things are likely to happen. 3. If you ignore this rationale, remember this; You pays your money, you takes your chances. Last and most importantly: Never hit anyone with your hands if you don’t have to; if you’re close enough to use your hands, you’re too close; there is no such thing as a fair fight, and generally, if all else fails – The firstest with the mostest wins.

  • Russ February 16, 2015, 4:53 pm

    Sticks & Stones, dumb bitches.
    I would laugh and walk away from an argument before it gets heated, while being alert for back stabbers.
    If someone actually spit in my face, I would get on my phone and call the police.
    All the while making sure I got plenty of great pictures and some incriminating video of the aftermath.
    Including, scraping off the spit and keeping it for DNA match for the upcoming lawsuit.
    I would laugh all the way to the bank with the settlement.
    That spit would be very costly for the store and it’s quality employee.
    A confrontational employee should be fired on the spot before it happens again.
    If I were the employee, I would never argue with a customer, and in fact I would kill them with kindness.

  • Jack DSonice February 16, 2015, 3:38 pm

    First, never let an argument escalate to this low point.
    Personally, I am willing to swollen my pride and walk away. It is not worth it. If someone spits in your face call the cops or walk away.

  • Don Faria February 16, 2015, 3:32 pm

    A right cross?

    • Larry February 16, 2015, 4:47 pm

      I had a very big right at the time & was real good at rolling it over on impact. Now I’m way too old to fight plus my hands hurt, especially when the weather changes.

  • Larry February 16, 2015, 3:13 pm

    About 40 years ago I had a pencil neck geek walk up to me & hack a big loogie in my face. I laid him out with one big right, flipped him over, whipped his spit all over HIS face & cuffed him. He laid there until the ambulance came & took him to the hospital for treatment of his facial damage. After being treated, he went to jail in the back of one of our paddy wagons. He went to court, plead not guilty, went to trial where the prosecutor tore up his defense, at one point saying that he would have shot the punk if he had done that to him, was found guilty & went to the work house for a stint. I bet he never spit on anyone again.

  • Alacrity February 16, 2015, 2:35 pm

    As much as I’d like to say being the bigger person and walking away is best- but if it’s escalated to spitting, it’s already too late. I’ve been in that position before- I can handle the verbal abuse, and have many times- but at some point it’s going to flash over. when that happens, the only way out is to be aggressive- to put the other guy down using any means reasonably needed. I’ve had to choke a few out just to walk away, and yeah, more’n once I’ve gotten me ass kicked. But gettin’ into a pissing contest is the big mistake here- not fighting it out. Sometimes, you find yourself in situations that require defensive actions because you were too stupid to avoid ’em in the first place.

  • dave February 16, 2015, 1:06 pm

    Spitting in someone’s face is a definite demand for a response. But it seems Ms. Jessica didn’t know how or didn’t have the neck strength to do it properly. Too bad for her.

  • NEILS February 16, 2015, 1:04 pm

    The president should have should have intervened and said one of them (you pick one) “acted stupidly” and invited both of them to a beer summit at the White House.

    • The old one February 16, 2015, 10:40 pm

      Yes, good idea, except for the fact that I doubt the president would pay for the beer.

  • Mike February 16, 2015, 12:46 pm

    LOL, that shopper is an idiot. Did you see the skull on that employee?

  • Mike February 16, 2015, 12:43 pm

    That shopper is an idiot. Did you see the skull on that employee?

  • ED February 16, 2015, 12:37 pm

    “Sticks and stones may break my bones – but hollow points properly expand in soft tissue.” Just sayin’.

  • Don Miller February 16, 2015, 12:36 pm

    I ,being less than average size would reverse my route ,ready my mental outlook as to the use of my ccw , return to my departure point while calling on cell phone (911). If the harassment continued and departure point was not a safe point ,take cover with my companion and prepare for the worst , This may sound like an involved procedure but think about it . These are things that one would naturally do without planing or involved practice ( except target practice ).

  • Bob February 16, 2015, 11:18 am

    If you’re not smart enough to walk away, and decide to make the first strike, make it a good one and don’t stop til the other person is not capable of fighting.

  • Cornix February 16, 2015, 10:45 am

    A couple of weeks ago I was walking with my wife in a “nice” neighborhood. I am 49 ys old, 6.3 ft. 190 lbs. it was about 11:00 AM and suddenly a young man in its 20´s 5.8 ft, 160 lbs. started to insult us from the opposite sidewalk. This man looked clean and well dressed. He didn´t look like the typical homeless guy or the drunk man that sits in the street corner.

    For about 10 long minutes we were under a verbal attack. He called us every kind of name you can imagine. But it was clear the man was under the influence of some kind of drug had a mental problem or both. Because we never did anything to provoke the verbal assault.

    I was carrying my Ruger LCR .357 magnum in my right hand pocket. And my hand was inside my pocket during the whole episode.

    I had only 4 options:

    1. Draw out my handgun and shoot the verbal attacker.
    2. Walk to the opposite sidewalk and start a physical fight.
    3. Ignore the man and keep walking like nothing had happened.
    4. Keep walking and be ready to react – if the man had crossed the street and started a physical attack -, or if he had started shooting from the opposite sidewalk.

    The first 3 options could have put me in prison or inside a coffin. There is only one option: walk away and be ready for an attack Do not run away. You can fall and injure yourself. Or you can put the verbal attacker into a depredatory mode and he can start chasing you.

    At the end we reported the whole incident to the local pólice. We gave a full description of the man and the incident got documented as a UNPROVOKED verbal attack.

  • Tom February 16, 2015, 10:28 am

    Next time head butt harder

  • Chimelak February 16, 2015, 10:25 am

    Yep, its assault, not on a public servant but none the less. And where’s the pepper spray?

  • Ed February 16, 2015, 8:53 am

    I couldn’t tell much from that video clip but an employee of a retail outlet has no business getting into an altercation with a customer… if she stood there trading insults with a shopper she was in the wrong.. period
    When I am carrying I cannot afford to get into any school yards incidents, road rage etc…. walk away…walk away.. I refuse to wind up like George Zimmerman

  • praharin February 16, 2015, 8:40 am

    I’ve had my mother called a number of names, as well as being called them myself. Incidentally, insults only hurt if you let them, so perhaps having her mother called that struck such a nerve because of the truth behind it. I work with adolescent males, and the number of times I’ve been called “gay” is staggering. Here’s how I look at it, as an example. It will work with any insult. There are two possible worlds, one where I’m gay and one where I’m not. If I am, then they made a good observation. If I’m not gay, then they’re wrong. I don’t need to tell them that, because they won’t care.

    In the same work environment, I’ve been spat on several times. Here’s how I handle that. Once it happens, there’s not amount of fighting that can undo it. It’s done. Over. If I can’t remove myself from the situation, a spit shield is used and the issue of taken care of. If assault charges are to be pressed, they will be.

  • Rip February 16, 2015, 8:40 am

    Sticks and stones make break your bones but names will never hurt me , but spit in my face and its on

  • rick February 16, 2015, 8:33 am

    I have seen reports that if you spit in a policeman’s face you can be charged with assault with deadly weapon as the person could have aids. If so why should it be less if it’s someone else?

  • Chris February 16, 2015, 8:16 am

    I think it’s wild the woman responded a move you typically see on Leverage or some such TV show.

    However, as infuriating as the situation might be, I would have to side with those who say ‘just walk away’. Yeah you might get called a coward, but you NEVER know what the other person has on their person, nor how in control of their emotions they are. If it is someone unstable, you might just push them to the point they become unhinged and get yourself knifed or shot. Certainly not worth the risk.

    Think of your friends and family presiding over your funeral:

    “If he’d only just walked away!”
    “He had no way of knowing the guy had an UZI under his coat.”
    “Poor Jim!”

    And don’t even get started on what happens if YOU become unhinged and draw YOUR UZI! Do you feel like going to prison for 10-20 and not seeing your kids graduate?

    Walk away!

  • PudbertSavannahGA February 16, 2015, 7:17 am

    It’s the responsibility of the employee to call security and be the bigger person,, even tho the customer seems to be the instigator,, doesn’t matter,,
    now walmart will be sued

    • Nomad February 16, 2015, 9:39 am

      The customer is always right, even if they are wrong. It should have been the employee to use her customer service training to diffuse the situation or call security, she escalated it and should be disciplined for it.

  • Jim February 16, 2015, 6:40 am

    I think for the woman to even attempted the head butt the way she did might perhaps have some issues herself.

    • Early Ray February 16, 2015, 2:57 pm

      I agree…at least learn how to head butt. She has been watching way too much WWF and probably does not know that it is fake. This incident should not be part of a gun debate. A bruised ego and unchecked temper tantrum would never have me reaching for a weapon of any kind. Having a weapon on your person requires you to walk away if you can…and if it is not possible to walk away…well

  • Mike February 16, 2015, 6:08 am

    If someone spits in your face after an argument, you need to rethink your whole attitude and how you’re living your life. You can be right – but stupid.

  • drdos1943 February 16, 2015, 5:51 am

    I do not care what the verbal offense is… ignore it and just walk away. DO NOT RETURN the insults. Remember the old adage: “Sticks and Stones will break my bones … but names will never hurt me.”

    • Veritas February 16, 2015, 8:46 am

      The morale of the story is always carry a big stick and some backup stones for use against those without manners.

  • Joe February 16, 2015, 5:45 am

    If the spitter is a hot moma I’d buy her some flowers in hopes it was foreplay.
    If the spitter is a gay person they probably are attempting to infect me with a STD they obtained by mouth breeding so I’d have to shoot that person in self defense.

    • praharin February 16, 2015, 8:20 am

      Hate crime! Yay!

    • miles February 17, 2015, 3:29 am

      I thinks thats hilarious . But so true as for hate its just a fact that fags are nasty and have stds

      • Sam June 23, 2017, 3:30 pm

        You got a pretty mouth.

  • Richard February 16, 2015, 5:45 am

    With the number of infectious diseases that can be transmitted by spit and with the potential severity of those diseases, I consider a spit in the face to be a serious assault. I would not immediately consider it to be good reason for use of deadly force but I would demand police action.
    Everybody has bad days, especially when struggling to get by, but spitting is just not acceptable and should result in immediate termination of the employee followed by police action.

  • GeoPro February 16, 2015, 4:05 am

    Yea Jay …. like THAT has a prayer in hell of happening!

  • bob February 12, 2015, 12:42 pm

    Keener started walking away. She should have kept walking but at the same time she should not have to be subject to that abuse. Albitz followed and continued to escalate matters. In the interview Albitz states that Keener instigated the incident and that she felt that she had to hit Keener because Keener called Albitz’s mother a B*. But if you watch the video and listen to it the video clearly proves that the insult was in response to Albitz’s using the same word toward Keener.

    Ms. Keener is working two jobs. Her boss has indicated that she has worked at her current job for 15 years and is a good employee.

    Those of you who are indicating that Ms Keener is lacking in character are judging her harshly for whatever reason. From the facts as they appear in the video and from Mrs Albitz’s comments it appears clear that Mx Keener might not have acted as properly as one would hope but she acted as properly as one could expect. Albitz should have complained to a manager if she had a legitimate complaint. It is never OK for a customer to harass and physically assault an employee because that customer does not like the employee’s performance. I suspect that had a small white women been assaulted by a large black woman in the manner shown on the video then had the smaller woman not retaliated you would be saying that shows the need to carry concealed. Look beyond the skin color and consider the right to be judged by your character when you are a hard working individual. Consider if you would be OK if someone came to your place of business and physically attacked you.

    • jay February 13, 2015, 5:33 pm

      Yup, simply nothing whatsoever about that physical altercation calls for anyone to be unsheathing swords. Every physical tussle does not warrant the option of lethal reply, no lives were being threatened, just tempers flaring and minor ass whoopin’s, nobody need die for it.

      I didn’t see anything that looked like someone spat in anyones face, I suspect it was likely a case of “say it, don’t spray it” more likely. Anyone says anything about your mother…headbutt em..period!

      Both should have been pulled apart, made to drink camomile tea and a slice of sponge cake (yes..even the fat chick), then made to shake hands, apologize to each other with the promise to be more deliberately thoughtful about what they do and a warning for the civil consequences that await them if it happens again, and then let them go about their lives.

    • Bob February 16, 2015, 8:05 pm

      Call me a name and I’ll probably laugh at you. Spit in my face and I’ll beat your ass. EVERY TIME.

      • matt March 9, 2015, 3:21 pm

        Well put same thing happens here.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend