Video shows tense mask confrontation at McDonald's as B.C. workers plead for kindness
VANCOUVER -- A customer has been recorded losing his cool at staff while buying food at a McDonald’s restaurant in Richmond.
It happened Saturday, at the Ironwood location. The man can be heard yelling at the staff, "my kids are in the car, can I have my god damn food," and "don't talk to me like you have authority, you work at McDonald's."
The video doesn’t show the lead up to the interaction, but the man who recorded the video explained the situation to CTV News in an email. He didn’t want to be identified but says the customer initially walked into the restaurant with his mask below his chin. "The manager approached him asking him to put it on properly. That's when he got mad," the email stated.
At one point, the man pulls out his phone to start recording, before saying to a staff member "ma'am are you discriminating against me because I have a medical condition?"
There have been numerous documented incidents of customers hurling verbal abuse at hospitality workers. Assault charges were laid against two men following a heated confrontation over masks at a Vancouver pizza restaurant in February, those charges have since been stayed.
Workers right across the province say they are still having to deal with unruly behaviour on an almost daily basis. This week, the owner of Big Feast Bistro in Maple Ridge, Mike Mulcahy, posted a plea on Facebook, asking for people to be kinder.
He says he wanted to make a statement after a customer left a scathing review criticising Mulcahy’s staff for enforcing the mask mandate.
"I wanted to make sure my staff knew that I had their back," Mulcahy said. "We’ve had numerous people over the last several months get really angry with our staff. We’ve got some really young girls here, they’re 16 to 20 and they’re often being yelled at, cursed at, threatened and they’re just breaking down in tears and they don’t deserve it."
Even venues providing take-out only are feeling the heat.
Kelsey Mitchell is the general manager of Cafe Mexico in Victoria, she says she’s been coughed on, spat on and even had death threats from customers while trying to enforce safety protocols in the past. Since moving to take-out only in recent months, the behaviour has only improved slightly.
"The requirement to wear a mask while you’re ordering is maybe 10 seconds and (I’ve been told) I’m breaching people’s rights and I’m trying to force an agenda on them," Mitchell said. "People forget I’m not in charge of anything to do with the pandemic, all we want to do is give people a good time."
Mulcahy and Mitchell both say they are doing the best they can to comply with COVID-19 requirements in order to keep their businesses open. Mulcahy has already lost two other restaurants during the pandemic.
"Just be kind, I know we've heard that word a lot," he said. "But be empathetic to the situation we’re going through."