While much has been made of the dangers that school teachers face as some districts insist on reopening educational institutions without the reasonable eradication of coronavirus cases in their areas that would allow them to do so safely, at least it’s difficult to argue that the essential service that teachers provide doesn’t deserve a debate about the best way to provide them during a pandemic.
For other employees forced to go back to work during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s more problematic to think that the risks of catching the deadly virus — or, even more dangerously, the risks of being confronted by an angry, politically-deluded anti-masker — are worth the meager paycheck that they get in return.
A 17-year-old hostess at a Baton Rouge, Louisiana Chili’s learned that lesson the hard way on Sunday when a large group of 13 people arrived at the reopened restaurant and sought to be seated together in violation of the chain’s social distancing policies established during the pandemic as a public health measure.
When Kelsy Wallace told the group that she could not accommodate their request due to the company’s policies of seating no more than 6 people at a single table right now, the members of the group grew visibly perturbed and began attacking the teenage hostess delivering the message set by her general manager.
Here’s Wallace’s account of what happened next:
“She pushed me. And when she pushed me, all I knew was to push her back. I reacted. That’s when her and her daughters, they all came. And they’re grown women. I’m 17-years-old. They’re like, 20, 30, and the woman that pushed me looked like she was 40,” Wallace recounted.
“So I’m standing there, they’re on me, beating me,” she continued. “I’m standing there trying to hit them, trying to get all of them off me. And the lady she takes a wet floor sign and slams it in my eye. And I had blood rushing everywhere.”
Wallace was forced to visit the emergency room after the brawl where she was treated with five stitches above her eye and was found to have had a significant amount of her hair ripped straight from her head during the violent altercation.
Police say a 17-year-old hostess at Chili's in Baton Rouge was attacked on Sunday by a group of women for enforcing the restaurant's COVID-19 policy of no more than 6 people at a table. Hear from her coming up on @WBRZ at 10. pic.twitter.com/RTT167N9Ji
— Trey Couvillion (@treycouvtv) August 12, 2020
While at the hospital, Wallace was still trying to mentally deal with the shock of what had just happened to her.
“As I’m laying on the bed, this keeps replaying in my head. I couldn’t believe that. I couldn’t believe I’m trying to work and this happened to me,” Wallace said.
What disturbed the young hostess the most, however, was the lack of response and support from her managers and co-workers at the Chili’s.
“The managers let them walk out. Like, how y’all let them leave like that? I mean, they could have locked the doors until the police came,” Wallace said.
While the abusive patrons were allowed to escape, luckily surveillance cameras in the restaurant caught the assault and police are investigating after taking a report from Wallace.
“I want them in jail. I don’t think they should get away with this,” Wallace said adamently.
So far, Chili’s corporate management has yet to issue a statement on the incident.
While Wallace is still technically employed by the Baton Rouge Chili’s, she has no plans to return to work there after she recovers from her injuries.
All this for a nonessential and unnecessary activity in a state that leads the nation in coronavirus cases per 100,000.
This is the consequence of a Republican-controlled Senate so unwilling to provide sufficient relief payments to Americans during this pandemic that people feel forced to work in unsafe conditions seating ignorant people too selfish to consider the risks of their own risky behavior on others and who turns violent when their foolish anti-science beliefs brush up against corporate public health policies.
The corporate bigwigs work safely out of their home offices, while poor front line workers suffer the consequences.
Make sure you’re registered to vote and then cast your ballot to rid the nation of every Republican politician in sight.
Original reporting by Trey Couvillion at WBRZ.
We want to hear what YOU have to say. Scroll down and let us know in our NEW comment section!
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.