An employee at a Jacksonville McDonald’s is telling her side of the story after footage of her slapping a customer who allegedly became belligerent toward her made its rounds on social media.
The worker, who simply goes by Ms. Williams, told Action News Jax that a female customer grew impatient because her order wasn’t being prepared quickly enough. Williams said she tried to offer the woman a refund, but it did little to quell her agitation.
Things soon escalated from there, Williams said, as the customer threw two beverages on her — and one of them was a cup of hot coffee. The 45-second video shows Williams come from behind the counter and strike the woman in the face.
Williams, who’s worked at McDonald’s for eight years, told the station she doesn’t condone the way she reacted but said she’s just a human being at the end of the day. She said she’s worked in customer service for several years and understands the importance of it.
Some critics begged to differ, however.
“I think it should be, she no longer works the front, or at that job,” one viewer commented. “No one should just snap like that and slap anyone in a business.”
Other folks sided with the McDonald’s employee, saying she did not deserve to have drinks thrown in her face and reacted accordingly. However, from a legal standpoint, Williams may face charges for going out of her way to strike the woman.
“In a circumstance like that where you’re injured first, you have an immediate moment to protect yourself, reach out, to perhaps strike them instantly,” said Action News Jax’s Law and Safety expert Dale Carson. “But you certainly cannot walk around a counter, encounter someone in a store and slap them. Because if you do that, you are attacking that person and you are subject to be charged.”
“I recognize that if someone does something to infuriate you, sometimes we all are going to react to that [way] and in many cases, it’s excusable,” Carson added. “But when you’re an employee, the employer actually takes on some of that burden.
Carson said it would have been better for Williams to alert a manager or call the police and let them handle it. As for the agitated customer, she too could face charges if it’s proven that she threw hot coffee on the McDonald’s worker.
The incident is currently under investigation.