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Police: Mother’s Day scuffle at Red Lobster could lead to criminal charges

Ron Musselman
York Dispatch

A long wait led to a short temper and a scuffle at Red Lobster on Mother’s Day.

The altercation, captured on video and shared on social media, could result in criminal charges, Springettsbury Township Lt. Tony Beam said Tuesday.

“I would say there could be charges filed, but I will wait until the investigation is completed to determine that,” he said.

No charges had been filed as of early Wednesday afternoon, and the female customer in the video had not been identified.

Beam said police talked to the individuals involved in the incident that occurred at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the restaurant at 2555 E. Market St.

In the video, a female customer demanded to go inside the restaurant to get a refund, even though dine-in services are closed because of the coronavrius pandemic.

A female employee pushed the woman outside, telling her to "get out."

The customer can be seen scuffling with several Red Lobster employees. They were wearing masks and the customer was not.

"I am going in and I am getting my refund," the woman yelled as three employees blocked the door to the restaurant.

Fight breaks out at Red Lobster on Mother's Day

After the customer threw a punch at a female employee, four workers went outside and separated the customer from the employee she had hit. One of the employees was holding on to the customer's ponytail at one point.

"I was assaulted and have a whole crowd to see it," the woman said on the video as the employees went back into the restaurant.

Beam said only curbside deliveries were available at the restaurant.

“It’s my understanding, how it worked that day is that you ordered food and then you would get your food brought out to the curb,” Beam said. “From what I gather, nobody should have been inside other than employees.

“So, when the woman went inside, she was removed by the employees.”

Beam said officers reported there were approximately 100 customers waiting for pickup orders that day.

“They had so many orders, and with the way things are being handled right now, unfortunately it was taking longer than it normally does,” he said. “There were lots of people waiting there, some waiting a long time, I am told.”

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A spokesperson for the local restaurant referred The York Dispatch to the company's headquarters for comment.

Red Lobster released a statement Tuesday through corporate headquarters apologizing for the long waits some customers had on Sunday.

“We understand that we may have disappointed some of our guests on Mother’s Day when due to COVID-19 and changes to our operations and staffing, we were not able to keep up with the demand at some of our locations," the statement read. "We apologize that some of our guests experienced long wait times, crowds, and in some cases, did not receive their orders. ...

"That said, we do not tolerate violence for any reason in our restaurants. We expect our team members to treat our guests with respect, and we expect our guests to treat our team members with respect in return. We are grateful our Manager and the guest involved were not seriously injured in the incident on Sunday.”   

Beam said he would encourage people to be patient and understanding while York County remains under a stay-at-home order. 

“It’s not the perfect time right now in society,” he said. “Pretty much what we need people to be is patient and understanding. Things aren’t the way they used to be.”

— Ron Musselman can be reached at rmusselman@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @ronmusselman8.

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