Don’t deliberately cough on people for any reason

Debra Jo Hunter, a woman in Florida (of course) who deliberately went up to someone and coughed in her face during the early days of the pandemic, was sentenced last week to 29 days in jail. The woman she coughed on had recently had brain tumor surgery.

Duval County Court Judge James Ruth first heard testimony from Hunter’s husband, friends and family who said she has a “really huge heart” and is “broken-hearted” over how she coughed on cancer patient Heather Sprague. But after they spoke on behalf of Hunter, Sprague told the judge about the confrontation that happened only months after she underwent brain tumor surgery. 

Sprague said she watched Hunter, 53, give at least 15 minutes of what she called “escalating bullying,” swearing and threats to Pier 1 staff about a broken item with Sprague’s children nearby. It was only when Sprague said she started shooting video in the final minute of the tirade that she was yelled at, then coughed on.

Here’s video of the incident.

I really doubt her family’s claim that she has a “really huge heart”. People like that do not berate shop assistants, give the double finger to strangers, and call them names. Also, deliberately coughing on someone is something that everyone would agree on is disgusting, similar to spitting on them.

There is something about the pandemic that has unhinged some people to the extent that they react so angrily. Hunter was with her two children. Doesn’t she care what kind of role model she is for them?


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    There is something about the pandemic that has unhinged some people to the extent that they react so angrily.

    I wouldn’t be too sure about that. If it weren’t the pandemic, it would be something else.
    It is remarkable the extent to which “Republican”* and “Conservative” have become synonymous with “asshole”. And after four years of Trump, the assholes feel entitled and emboldened.

    * I am taking a guess as to her political party affilliation, but you know that I’m right.

  2. Katydid says

    I agree with Reginald Selkirk; the USA has just come out of 4 years of gratuitous cruelty where the deplorables were encouraged to let their worst selves loose--particularly on those they perceive can’t fight back (like shop clerks).

  3. Matt G says

    I’m beginning to find the Florida Man trope offensive. Florida women can be just as stupid and obnoxious as Florida men.

  4. Holms says

    Maybe she has cardiomegaly, and the family is just putting a good spin on it? /s


    #1 Reginald
    In my experience, the key predictor for a person having far right politics is if they are deficient in empathy. And the more deficient they are, the further right they are.

  5. publicola says

    I’m sure she thinks she IS a good role model, which is even scarier. Imagine what her kids will turn out like.

  6. Sam N says

    I will throw this out--When I saw a guy in a massive truck proudly flying the confederate flag downtown in the city I’m presently staying in, I literally made that same hand gesture and told him, “to get out of here with your confederate flag you racist piece of garbage,” (only I used some strong cuss words).

    I felt the need to say something, and very intentionally wished him to feel unwelcome in such a public space. He pretended to ignore me, and I walked away (it was all in all, about a 15 second encounter).

    I can’t say whether or not I have a ‘big heart’. And my my communication was not particularly effective, but I’m also unrepentant about it.

  7. mediagoras says

    Spitting on someone is battery, and deliberately coughing right into someone’s face is basically spitting on them. Testimony from spouses, friends, and family should receive very little weight (what would we normally expect them to say?). How you treat strangers who have done you no actual harm is probably more reliable testimony as to your character. It’s as if nearly half the adults in this country stopped their moral development in junior high school.

  8. dean56 says

    The fact that I knew this in elementary school but it still needs to be stated now speaks volumes about society, and every one of those volumes sucks.

  9. bmiller says

    Sam N: Any vestige of nationalist group identity pride not vanquished by Marcus has been utterly annihilated by the toxic “patriotism” of the trumpanzee crowd.

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