View Full Version : What Would You Have Done?

April 30, 2011, 10:22 AM
A couple of weeks ago my wife and I, along with another couple went to the movies. The four of us sat together but soon realized the armrest in one of the chairs was broken so the other couple moved over two seats, leaving a space of two seats between us. The movie theater quickly filled up and two guys in their late 20's or early 30's took the two empty seats.

Soon after the movie began one of those guys left, never returning to the theater. About 1/2 way thru the movie, the lone guy who is sitting next to me takes out his cell phone and begins to text. I said nothing although the bright light in the dim theater was most disturbing. Several minutes later he texts again and now I am getting ****** off but still maintain my cool, saying nothing. Now he texts for a third time and I very politely asked, "Excuse me sir. I find your cell phone very distracting. Could you kindly stop texting or go outside to do that?" He looks at me and says, "No."

He takes out his phone and begins a fourth text and which point I made a grab for the phone but he saw me coming and moved it out of my reach. I stood up and said in a loud, booming voice, "If you don't put that cell phone away right now, I am going to stick it up your a$$." With that, my friend jumps up out of his seat and says, "And I will help him." This jerk finally decides he has pushed us far enough and puts his cell phone away for the rest of the movie.

The obvious thing to do would have been to get up and get an usher or one of the cops in the lobby and have this guy removed. However, the movie was very intense and I did not want to miss what was an important scene.

As the four of us are walking out of the theater and into the parking garage, my wife noticed that the guy with the cell phone is following about three paces behind us. I told everyone to continue walking normally towards the car. I am on high alert thinking this guy is either going to pull a knife or a gun. He couldn't be so stupid to think he could take my friend and I on hand to hand as we are both pretty big guys.

My hand went to my concealed gun, ready to draw but not exposing the gun. I turned around and said, "Is there something you want?" He completely ignored me and would not make eye contact. We were just a short distance from the car and I instructed everyone to get in. I did not turn my back to him for the last couple of yards to the car. After everyone was inside the car, I got in. This character then walks to the back of my car and takes a picture of what I assume was my license plate.

I believe we handled the situation properly. I never displayed my gun so no one would charge me with brandishing as there never was a threat of deadly force from this guy. It would have been very easy for me to plant a foot where the sun don't shine but then I could possibly be charged with assault.
I was aware of the situation and prepared to defend myself and the group if he pulled a weapon. It ended without a physical confrontation and the four of us were able to drive away laughing about the nerve of one moron.

How would you have handled the situation? Would you have done anything different other than going to get an usher or cop?

April 30, 2011, 10:28 AM
I know the right answer is to go get a cop or usher or whomever.

But threatening to shove things up where the sun don't shine is a lost art, and probably what's leading to the decline of common courtesy.

In short: you handled it the wrong way, but good job.

April 30, 2011, 10:36 AM
personally, I wouldn't have threatened to kick his @** in the first place just to avoid situations like this. I would have asked politely to put the phone away and when he told me no I would have either left it alone or gotten an usher. as satisfying as it may be to put jerks like that in their place it can all to easily escalate to something you don't want, especially with other people with you.

April 30, 2011, 10:45 AM
I think going back to your car when you noticed he was following you was a mistake. You have now threatened him with physical violence. He follows you and gets your plate number. He may now file a complaint. You may get a call or visit from the local PD. They may consider the whole thing a stupid joke and tell him to buzz off (after all- it's he said/he said) or not.

I would have lost him first, before I got into my car.

Not sure what I would have done in the theater, I probably would have told him that if he did not put his phone away I was going to get the usher and have him removed. And I would have told the ushers he was talking on it, not texting... But I'm known liar.

April 30, 2011, 11:22 AM
After the third time he pulled out his cell phone, I would have politely asked him to not do that because it's distracting. If he ignored me, I would have reported it to the theater, asked for them to do something about it or ask for my money back. Or, I might have pulled out my own cell phone and done the same thing to him.

It's just a movie. Good thing you didn't brandish a gun - you would have set yourself up for some real trouble.....how many witnesses do you think there were inside the theater that heard you threaten him?

Willie Lowman
April 30, 2011, 11:30 AM
So the other day I was watching a movie in the theater. I was texting to my mother who has just got out of the hospital.

Some jerk demands that I stop texting to my mother (freedom of speech, first amendment). I mean, I could have been talking to her on the phone in the theater but that would have been rude. So I decide to take this fascist down a peg and tell him "NO." After all, it is my God given right to communicate with my family.

Then the psychopath stands up and threatens to "stick the phone up my -butt-" One of his over grown knuckle dragging friends stood up and said that he would gladly help stick my phone up my -butt-.

So after the movie was over I follow the guy to his car so I can get his licence plate number. I figure I would give it to the police because judging by his behavior in the theater, he was probably drunk in public and making threats of violence toward people exercising their first constitutional amendment rights!

Do you know what the guy does then, he goes for a gun! I know now he is definitely unhinged, threatening strangers in public and carrying a pistol in case his mouth writes a check to big for his -butt- to cash.

I back away not wanting to get shot in a parking lot. Once he gets into his car I get the pic of his license plate and report him to the authorities.

I doubt they followed up on it. No cop wants to go chase down a belligerent pistol packing thug.


April 30, 2011, 11:45 AM
I hate the thought of missing any part of a good movie, but after nicely telling him to follow the theatres rules, and getting no satisfaction, getting an usher to handle or remove him beats some inconsiderate jerk turning into a reporting party in an assault. You don't have to make contact to have an assault, merely have the assaultee believe (or convincingly act) that they are in danger of said assault.

In all likelyhood, the cops would believe both sides, but if the kid presses the issue and wants to file charges, they are bound by law to do so.

April 30, 2011, 11:57 AM
It really only takes a single bi-polar Troll to get both sides of a "situation." Clever, but still foolish trolling. Dao.

Doc Intrepid
April 30, 2011, 12:06 PM
I probably would have handled the situation exactly as you did when I was younger,

(which is not to say it was the only way to go...)

And, you achieved the desired effect.

On the other hand, people who are deliberately provocative narcissists (you know, azzhats,) are generally that way through and through. He could indeed report the incident to the authorities and even file a charge that the owner of the vehicle verbally assaulted him, and as noted above even if the cops knew he was the cause of the situation, they would be obliged to follow up on his complaint.

One of the real issues with packing heat is that you have to go so far out of your way to avoid any situations where it can be used against you. You actually have to take more guff and back down faster with a gun on than when you're not carrying, to avoid the perception that you provoked a situation so as to be able to pull the gun.

Next time, go find the manager and file a complaint. (And then follow the guy to his car and take a photo of his license plate!!) ;)

Just sayin'.....

April 30, 2011, 12:42 PM
freedom of speech, first amendment

Both of which cannot (or should not) be abridged by Congress. The movie theater can forbid you from doing anything they want to forbid you from doing, if you want to watch the movie in their venue.

In the beginning of every movie they explicitly tell you to turn off your cell phone and not be an obnoxious idiot. While they can throw you out for any reason (it is private property, after all), when they throw you out for making a disturbance on your cell phone, you have already been duely warned.

April 30, 2011, 12:46 PM
Was the phone making noise or the guy mumbling/talking out loud?
I agree completely that it's rude. I think texting is helping bring about the fall of language and civilization. I don't send or accept them, but if the guy is silent, where's the problem? By this standard, someone next to me eating popcorn is a distraction and should be removed?
I'm not arguing with you, just wondering why someone silently (if he was quiet) pushing buttons would be any more distracting than anything else going on around you in a theater.

Evan Thomas
April 30, 2011, 01:10 PM
I made a grab for the phone but he saw me coming and moved it out of my reach.
Um... I believe that in most places, trying to grab someone's phone would constitute assault.

I have to say that you didn't handle this well at all. If you're that bothered, get up, find an employee of the theater, and let them handle it. If you're not bothered enough to miss a couple of minutes of the movie in order to do that... suck it up.

If this had escalated to a fight inside the theater, you would have been the one who provoked it, not the fellow with phone... and any police involved at that point would have reacted accordingly.

As to what happened afterward, you handled that OK -- but the situation could probably have been avoided had you not overreacted in the first place.

April 30, 2011, 01:18 PM
After he refused the first time I would have gone to get an usher.

No, he does not get to text in the theater..... there are clear rules against it.

I sound real mature so far don't I?

Well, if he follows me to my car I guess he's gonna get a confrontation.

Hiker 1
April 30, 2011, 01:23 PM
Dude, you're carrying a concealed weapon - always de-escalate.

Yes, he's a rude jerk - but you threatened him with bodily harm WHILE carrying a weapon. Absolutely unacceptable.

If you can't keep your cool, don't carry.

April 30, 2011, 02:56 PM
Seems like you offered to kick this guy's butt just because the light from his cell phone was distracting you. You know that this was wrong but maybe you overreacted because were with your wife and friends and you wanted to appear strong and in control.

Besides overreacting, you threatened this guy in the presence of many witnesses and you did it in a "loud, booming voice". Not many people could have seen his cell phone light but many people heard your threats. You're probably a nice guy but to the majority of people in the theatre, you were the jerk in this situation. Not only did you threaten somebody but you interrupted the enjoyment of the movie for many other people.

What would I have done? What I usually do when somebody has bad cell phone etiquette: I try real hard to ignore them. If I can't ignore them, I move away from them. If they follow me, then I let them know that they are harassing me and if they don't stop, I will make trouble for them. That means calling the authorities.

Nowadays, everybody has a cell phone and most people use them inappropriately. You can't go around threatening everybody who uses their cell phone inapprorpriately. At least this guy wasn't talking on his cell phone. Probably the reason he was texting was to be more polite than to carry on a voice conversation while sitting next to you. Maybe he needed to communicate with someone for an important matter and in his own way he was trying to be polite by texting instead of talking.

Hopefully this guy will get over the situation and he won't turn in your license plate to the police.

April 30, 2011, 02:56 PM
I don't know. In New York that guy would have been paranoic to continue sitting next to someone who threatened him into having good manners. Why paranoid? Because they know that pain immediately follows. But out here in Florida it's a different set of rules that people take for granted. Kudos to you for having him respect you afterwards in the theatre. But be on the watch for any vandalism that might follow in the late hours of the morn, as this coward might have a friend who can find out your address via license plates.

Glenn E. Meyer
April 30, 2011, 04:28 PM
I think I'll close this. The initial action was not wise. All actions that follow are fruit, so to speak, of the poisoned tree.

Advice how how to deal with a madman enraged by the initial action wouldn't be needed if one didn't threaten the madman in a probably illegal manner.