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17-year-old restaurant hostess allegedly attacked for enforcing social distancing seating policy

17-year-old restaurant hostess allegedly attacked for enforcing social distancing seating policy

A party of 13 women allegedly got upset when the teen refused to seat them all at the same table due to Coronavirus-induced restaurant policy.

A 17-year-old hostess at a Chili's restaurant in Louisiana was allegedly assaulted earlier this week for attempting to enforce the establishment's COVID-19 social distancing policies. The Baton Rouge Police department said in a statement to PEOPLE that the teen, Kelsy Wallace, was trying to figure out how to seat a large group of adult women when the alleged altercation occurred on Sunday. Wallace, a senior at Broadmoor Senior High School and Career Technical Education Center, told the publication that the party of 13 women got upset when she refused to seat them all at the same table due to the restaurant's policy to not seat more than six people together due to Coronavirus.

 



 

"My general manager and my other managers tell us we cannot sit a table bigger than six because of the [Coronavirus]. We are supposed to separate them," the teen told WAFB in an interview. "And they got upset, so the first thing I did was go get my manager." However, when she brought one of her managers out to deal with the escalating situation, members of the large group began to aggressively confront Wallace. "She pushed me and I pushed her back," she said of one of the women in the group.

 



 

"One girl come and she just hit me; we just started fighting. And all everybody who they [were] with just started hitting me, and the lady who pushed me first, she takes the wet floor sign, cocks back, and hits me with it in my eye," the teen stated. "They all attacked me. I was kind of fighting for my life. I was really scared, calling out for my mama." Wallace, who began working at the Chili’s as a hostess in June to try to make some extra money, was taken the hospital after the encounter, where she received five stitches above her eye. 

 



 

The teen said she also sustained scratches, a few broken nails, and had a chunk of her hair ripped out from her scalp. Although the Baton Rouge Police Department was called to do a report on the incident, all the women had apparently left in their cars by the time officers arrived. She doesn’t plan to return to her job after the traumatizing altercation. "It really has taken an emotional toll on me; not just physically, but emotionally as well," said Wallace.

 



 

Her grandmother, Lorrain Byrd, is in disbelief that this happened to her granddaughter. "I couldn't believe they would do or act like that, and then I mean, grown women, to fight a 17-year-old child at her job, who's trying to work to get her graduation things together so she can go off to college," she said. Summer Miller, the general manager at the Chili's restaurant, said that such behavior towards staff "isn't tolerated," and "they are very sorry this happened and hopeful for a resolution soon." She stated that the establishment is "working closely with the Baton Rouge Police Department and trying to make sure they can locate these women and press charges."

 



 

"They definitely deserve to be in jail for what they did… We are very sorry that it happened. Violent behavior is obviously not tolerated from guests or team members in the building. It is very unfortunate that it took place," said Miller. Meanwhile, the teen's aunt, Lorraine Williams, says her niece has been a victim of cyberbullying since the incident. "She was very scared and embarrassed about what happened," she said. "She is struggling. Her world turned upside down very quickly." As for Wallace, she is still in shock that something like this would happen to her when she was just doing her job.

 



 

"I was just trying to follow the rules and make sure that I wasn't going to get in trouble," she said. "Like this is just overwhelming. I just cannot believe that this happened to me of all people." A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover the costs of Wallace's senior expenses and upcoming college expenses. 

 



 

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