Chittenango, N.Y. — Two teenage employees at a Chittenango ice cream stand got the full brunt of one customer’s tirade after she refused to wear a face mask and lashed out after she was denied service.
A woman and a man, neither of whom were wearing the required face masks, approached the counter at The North Pole just before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Tori Broniszewski, 18, and Morgan Baldwin, 16, were working the counter when the customers approached.
Broniszewski said the stand’s policy is to tell customers not wearing a mask that they must wear one, otherwise they won’t be served. She works at the stand around five days a week and said on average, she has one customer per shift who complains or pushes back on being told to wear a mask.
But none of those instances were as intense as what she experienced Tuesday evening.
“It was honestly very scary for us,” she said.
After being told they needed to put a mask on to be served, the man left and went back to their pickup truck, Broniszewski said.
But the woman stayed and yelled at the pair, telling them — incorrectly — that only the employees needed to wear masks and customers didn’t and doubted the advice from the World https://bt-hypnotise.com/ Organization and other authorities.
“She said ‘we don’t need to believe all these people,‘”Broniszewski said.
They then closed the counter window, which further provoked the woman. She had been several feet away from the window, but then ran toward the two employees, reopened the window and began yelling again and said she was going to talk to their manager. The woman splattered spit while she was yelling. Broniszewski said none of it got on her, but still felt in harm’s way.
“She could have easily given me Covid,” she said.
After they closed the window a second time, the woman left.
Management supported their employees. Owner Alexandria Ciotti, who also owns the adjoining Hamlet Diner, posted a video of the encounter on the ice cream stand’s Facebook page, condemning the woman’s actions and saying her employees were bullied and “verbally attacked.”
Broniszewski, a college student who is in her third summer at The North Pole, said she had never seen customers behave like this until they were required to wear masks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The shop had already ordered more security cameras for the exterior of the stand prior to the incident, but they hadn’t been installed yet. They’ll be up and working now.
Broniszewski said if it happens again when she’s forced to close the window on a customer, she’ll be sure to lock it.
She hopes the whole ordeal will serve as a reminder for people to be nice to others, especially to those serving food.
“We’re not the ones making the rules, we’re just the ones enforcing them.”
Jacob Pucci writes on food, restaurants and all things gastronomic across Central New York. Contact him by email at email@example.com.