A viral video that shows an employee of an ice cream shop having frozen desserts and other items thrown at her has sparked outrage online.
Security footage of the incident shows Icy Delights' 15-year-old employee being assaulted by two adults. Sharon Gay, the owner of the small Maryland-based chain, told TODAY that the adults threw five desserts and a tip jar at the employee.
Gay said that the customers first ordered three Snowballs, a dessert made with crushed ice, flavored syrup and marshmallow topping, and asked for extra marshmallow topping. After receiving their order, the customers then said there was too much marshmallow topping, so the employee re-made the order.
"(The employee) re-made their Snowballs ... and she sends it out there and they haven't even eaten it and they tell her that these weren't right, that she needed to re-make them again," Gay said, adding that the employee also refunded the order. "She told them 'I can't re-make them, what do you want me to do? I gave you extra marshmallow, I gave you regular, and you're saying neither one of them is correct.' And that's when the snowballs started hurling."
Gay said that the employee’s mother is planning to press charges against the couple, who were identified by social media users after the business posted the security video on Facebook and asked for help in identifying them. The business also plans to enact restrictions against the couple preventing them from visiting again.
Gay said that she "felt sick" watching the security footage of the incident.
"I felt sick to my stomach to watch what they did, especially at the end of the video where she puts her hands up, like 'Why did you do this?'" Gay said. "I felt the same, like why would you do this? ... What I didn't include (in the video shared online) is the way that she held herself together until they left and then she's just, she's sobbing, she's hysterical."
Gay also noted that the employee and a few other workers cleaned the entire business after the assault, since "everything was coated with marshmallow."
While the employee was not available for comment, Gay said that she was shaken by the incident and left her job shortly after the assault took place.
"This is her first job and she only worked a couple months," said Gay. "She came back one night and her mother sat in the car the whole night, and then she worked last weekend and my granddaughter went in and worked with her. But she's not going to work the rest of the (season). She's pretty shaken up, her mother is still pretty shaken up."
Gay said that like many other restaurants and businesses, she and her staff have seen a lot more customer complaints and other bad behavior amid the pandemic. While she and her son, who co-own the business, are not usually on-site, they see negative complaints on social media and receive messages through Facebook.
"We're getting a lot more complaints on Messenger from customers that are irate over something or they want to report one of our employees, and I think a lot of them don't realize ... that we have cameras," Gay said. "Like, we had somebody complain the other day that we closed early at one of our locations, so I pulled the camera up, and we're still open past the time they said they came. They said they were in line, they're not in line in the video."
"You're having people really, really complain, like 'They made this wrong,' or 'They made that wrong,'" Gay continued. "Customers are more irate this summer than they ever have been."
Gay said that she hoped people would remember that many employees are doing the best they can under the tough circumstances of the pandemic, and be understanding if there are issues with an order.
"We have to do extra this year, and no one deserves to be treated like she did," Gay said.