An Ohio woman has been sentenced by a judge to work in a fast-food restaurant after she was convicted of throwing a bowl of food at a Chipotle employee.
Rosemary Hayne, 39, was initially sentenced to 180 days in jail, with 90 days suspended, but was offered the chance to reduce her time behind bars by putting herself in the shoes of victim Emily Russell.
Throughout her four years working at a Chipotle location in Parma, Ohio, 26-year-old Ms Russell says she had become used to dealing with entitled customers and outrageous demands.
But on 5 October, she suffered an attack that far surpassed any previous heated interactions with unruly customers.
“That’s fine. Have a great day,” a visibly tense Ms Russell said before a woman, later identified as 39-year-old Ms Hayne, hurled a burrito bowl at the cashier’s face.
Authorities were called to the restaurant, but Ms Russell had to continue working for four hours before her shift ended. The assault was recorded on video by a bystander and posted on TikTok, where it garnered hundreds of thousands of views and comments from users condemning Hayne’s actions.
Hayne, who was easily tracked because she had placed her order online, was eventually found guilty of one count of assault.
Parma Municipal Court Judge Timothy Gilligan now hopes that an unlikely sentence makes her realise how difficult it is to work in the industry. Judge Gilligan initially sentenced Hayne to 180 days in jail, with 90 days suspended, but later gave her the option to work at a fast food restaurant to serve her time.
Hayne will still have to serve 30 days in jail.
“I thought, ‘Why should the city taxpayers pay for her and feed her for 90 days in jail if I can teach her a sense of empathy?’” the judge told FOX8. “I also hope this deters others from this type of behaviour.”
Hayne opted to find a job at a restaurant, where she will be required to work at least 20 hours a week for two months to get a 60-day jail credit. She has yet to find the necessary job, her attorney told CBS News, but is thankful for the opportunity to reduce her jail time.
“My client is grateful for the opportunity to get a job to reduce her sentence and demonstrate her true remorse for her behavior at Chipotle,” the defence attorney told the outlet.
However, Ms Russell said that she’s not completely convinced that Hayne regrets throwing the bowl at her. During the sentencing, Hayne apologised to Ms Russell but also told the court that her food on the day of the attack was “disgusting-looking.”
“I’ve been saying she’s lucky she’s working 20 hours a week — I was working 65 hours a week,” she told CBS News “She said she had a bad day, but that’s not the way you react when you have a bad day — to throw food in someone’s face.”
It comes amid rising attacks against fast food workers across the country. A report published in 2021 found that fast-food restaurants were the sites of over 77,000 violent incidents between 2017 and 2020.
Ms Rusell, who was making $19.25 at Chipotle when she was attacked, left the company shortly after following what she described as a lack of support by management. She now works at a different fast food chain, where she expects to become a manager soon, she told CBS.