CLINTON — A trip to the men’s restroom at a Walmart in Clinton quickly escalated into a full-fledged struggle when one man criticized another for bringing his 5-year-old daughter with him.
Christopher Adams said his 7-year-old son, Kyler, and 5-year-old daughter, Emery, both had to go when the family visited the store Sunday to buy blinds and storage bins, so he took them both inside the men’s restroom in the back of the store.
“This guy walks in and goes to the bathroom, the urinal,” Adams recalled Tuesday. “Then he just, like, turns to me and starts freaking out, dropping the ‘F-bomb,’ and what he was freaking out about was that my daughter was in the men’s bathroom.”
Adams said the man told him it was “inappropriate,” and soon began to push him after Adams gave him a terse response.
The father said he tried to usher his kids away from the man.
“When I turned back around, I got sucker-punched right here,” Adams said, pointing to his left eye, which still was bruised.
From there, Adams said he was punched in the face and kicked in the knee multiple times during the struggle in which the dad ultimately defended himself, forcing the man out of the restroom.
“I just slammed him on the ground and just held him until associates from Walmart could get there,” Adams said.
Clinton Police Lt. Shawn Stoker said the man was cited at the scene for disorderly conduct, and the city attorney was screening a potential assault charge.
Police initially declined to name the man.
Stoker acknowledged Adams did what many parents would do to protect their children in public places.
“This is a situation where a father felt the most reasonable and safe thing for him to do is to take his children inside the restroom with him, and the customer took exception to that,” Stoker said.
Stoker said better ways for people to address their concerns about what they see in public restrooms include notifying store employees or even calling police.
Adams, who said he still was experiencing intense pain in his knee and may have possibly suffered broken cartilage around his ribs, maintained he didn’t want to leave his 5-year-old daughter by herself or have her go into another restroom alone.
“I just think it’s ridiculous,” he said of the man’s outburst. “Not necessarily his intention — but the way he handled the situation was completely wrong.”