DEAR MISS MANNERS: We were shopping at a local farmer's market and I had just placed my order at the butcher counter. My teen daughter was standing next to me and opted to move out of the area to make more room for others.
As she turned, there was an older woman immediately behind her, so close that my daughter had only started to turn when her shoulder bumped against this woman and caused her to lose her balance. My daughter quickly steadied her at the shoulders, apologized several times and asked if she was OK.
The woman glared hard at her, brushed off the front of her shirt as though my daughter had spilled something on her (my daughter was holding nothing) and huffed, but did not say anything. She then proceeded to walk over to a companion and declare loudly how "that young lady tried to run me over." Both of them glared pointedly at her until we were able to complete our order and leave the area.
Was there something else my daughter or I should have done? I believe my daughter handled the situation appropriately, and I told her so. However, she was quite distressed at the treatment this woman gave her and was worried that her action was somehow more terrible than the small accident that it was.
The mama bear in me wanted to say something to the woman, but I'm also a firm believer in not being rude just because someone else is.
GENTLE READER: The lessons for your daughter to learn are those you are already teaching her: that not everyone is polite, but that we do not return rudeness with more rudeness. You may tell her that Miss Manners knows she handled the situation well -- and that everyone within earshot was on her side.