"I really put my life in danger. My life was in danger, and I feel like nobody really cares," she said.
An Illinois Subway worker was reportedly suspended after surveillance footage of her bravely fighting off an armed robber was leaked online. Speaking to WTVO, Araceli Sotelo—the employee involved in the traumatic incident—revealed that she was working alone on a Sunday morning at the restaurant located at 1120 East State Street when a man walked in, demanding money. "He kind of just showed me his gun, and I was like freaking out like, 'Woah you can't do that please leave,'" Sotelo said. "[He said] 'give me all the money' and I said 'I do not have any money, like, I do not have any money.' That is all I had and he was just like, 'give me everything before I hurt you.'"
Subway worker in Illinois suspended after video of her fighting off robber goes viral. pic.twitter.com/aMRRNHkdX0— SAY CHEESE! 👄🧀 (@SaycheeseDGTL) September 12, 2021
The man refused to leave and instead grabbed Sotelo's purse. This was when she decided to fight. "He was smaller than me, so I have that advantage. I'm bigger than him, so I could at least put my weight on him, push him, or something," she explained. Fortunately, the man's gun fell to the ground during the scuffle. "He dropped it trying to hold onto my purse, and I end up pulling his sweatshirt off him and I was like 'show your face, show your face, you are on camera,'" Sotelo said.
The Illinois Subway worker who fought off an armed robber in viral video says she was suspended— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) September 11, 2021
"They did not want anyone to know"https://t.co/g1S3y4kMB0
"He was like 'here you can have your purse back just give me back my stuff.' He wanted me to give him back his gun and his clothes "I just hit him on the head with it, that is what he was doing to me," she added. Surveillance video from inside the Subway shows Sotelo wrestling with the man and dragging him from behind the counter. She shared the footage to her TikTok account after it was posted online and now Sotelo says she's been suspended from her job.
Subway employee says she's suspended after fighting off robber. pic.twitter.com/lnD54Xw2D9— Hood Report (@hoodreport_) September 12, 2021
"I get a call yesterday it was like, 'if every one of these videos are not taken offline you will be suspended,' and then I texted them and I'm like 'how long am I suspended for?' They said till everything is removed online. I have no ability to do that," Sotelo said, adding that she did not leak the video. "They did not want anyone to know, they wanted to be private that it happened to me and that I fought back, but I think they did that because they do not want corporate to know."
While the local Subway franchise owner has not confirmed Sotelo's suspension, in a statement released Monday, Subway's corporate headquarters said: "We are deeply concerned about the recent incident at a franchised location in Rockford, Illinois. The restaurant owner and management are fully cooperating with the police investigation, and we request patience until that process is complete." A GoFundMe has been set up by Sotelo's mother to raise funds to fix Sotelo's phone that was broken during the fight and to cover the loss of her purse.
A lesson to be learned. Corporations don't give a rip about "employee loyalty/bravery". Off camera...appearances and potential risk management exposure is all they care about in these circumstances— D.B. UFA 🏒 (@38Shoeless) September 13, 2021
"I am suspended, I have not been put on the schedule. I am kind of just let go I guess, they have not reached out to me, and I think they're just waiting for me to quit so they can spread out to the media that like 'no we did not fire her, we suspended her but then she quit.' That is what I feel like they want," said Sotelo. "I really put my life in danger. My life was in danger, and I feel like nobody really cares, because of that and they let me go, and I feel like they are just treating me like I never meant anything, like the way they just suspended me. I feel like they are not concerned for me, they are concerned for their business."