When everyone was gearing up for a joyous New Year’s Eve, a McDonald’s outlet in St. Petersburg, Florida was the scene of a violent altercation. A middle-aged customer physically assaulted a female employee over plastic straws! While the outlet was relatively unpopulated at the time, Brenda Biandudi (another customer) was a witness who took a video of the assault on Sunday afternoon.
It all began when the man (who was a customer) received order and walked over to the condiments. He noticed there were no plastic straws, got upset and began berating the cashier, stated Biandudi narrating that the cashier was a black female employee who tried to mollify the situation.
“She told him that it’s the law now that they’re not supposed to have the straws in the lobby.
He said there’s no such law.”
Note: The St. Petersburg City Council voted last month to ban plastic straws by 2020, beginning with a grace period in 2019 in which customers must specifically request plastic straws at city businesses.
An insult-ridden, profanity-laced argument about straws escalated between the customer and the employee. Soon after, the man leaned across the counter to grab the cashier until she lurched forward. The employee stumbled, then regained her balance only to fight back flinging punches at the man who assaulted her. Other people shouted “Let her go” and “Stop!”. Yet it was only when another McDonald’s employee intervened, did he let go of the woman. Brenda recorded the whole thing on video. See for yourself-
The violent customer went on to demand that the employee he accosted be fired. That was when the woman retorted, “No, you’re going to jail!”. The man promptly hurls more profanities at her.
The exchange concluded when a McDonald’s employee asked the customer to leave. The manager called the police, but the belligerent customer continued to verbally accost the manager.
“He came back in the store and went behind the counter and got in the manager’s face,” Biandudi said.
“And another employee, a bigger guy, he actually grabbed the guy and put him outside the door and locked the door.”
By the time police arrived, the man had left the McDonald’s. However, Brenda posted her video online after sharing it with the authorities. “I was just disappointed the guy got away,” Biandudi said. “It was the right thing to do. Some people say the customer’s always right. (The cashier was) a young girl. I wanted her to keep her job. I wanted the guy to be caught.”
The video garnered millions of views after Biandudi’s children posted it on Facebook. Later Sunday evening, police identified the customer as Daniel Willis Taylor, a 40-year-old transient man and arrested him according to an arrest affidavit from the St. Petersburg Police Department. There were no weapons found on him, and there were indications that he was under the influence of alcohol, police said according to NDTV.
Taylor was charged with two counts of simple battery and was ordered to stay away from the restaurant and avoid contact with the employee. He is awaiting trial in the Pinellas County Jail. Arrest records also indicate that there was further violence not captured on video.
“The victim was kicked in the stomach by the defendant, and was complaining of pain,” police stated in an affidavit.
“The defendant was being escorted out of the business by management due to him battering another employee, and causing a disturbance. The defendant kicked the victim in the stomach while she was standing near the exit door.”
“Our highest priority is always the safety and well-being of our employees and customers at our restaurants,” McDonald’s said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Biandudi said she is glad her cellphone video may have helped capture what transpired. While the public criticized the other McDonald’s employees for not doing more to physically restrain the customer, Biandudi had no complaints. “I don’t really have any criticisms about the way the staff handled it,” Biandudi said. “I’m not trying to get anybody in trouble. . . . I just hope (the customer) gets some help and his anger issues resolved,” she said.