Temple, Texas (WorkersCompensation.com) – A Texas woman could be facing criminal charges after a video of her hurling soup into the face of a server went viral.
On Nov. 7, video surfaced of a customer throwing an entire container of soup at a Sol De Jalisco restaurant in Temple, Texas. Police said the woman threw the soup at Jannelle Broland, after calling to complain.
According to Broland, who put out two TikTok videos about the incident, the woman called the restaurant to complain about the soup she had picked up from there. Broland said the woman cursed at her and shouted at her, despite Broland offering to give the woman a refund or replace the soup.
Police said the woman then returned to the restaurant, where she continued to argue with Broland. Police did not identify the woman.
Broland said she continued to ask the woman to calm down and stop cursing at her, as well as offered the woman a refund. Broland said the woman refused the refund and continued to fight with her and other employees. Her complaint at that point was that the soup was so hot that the lid placed on top of it had melted.
When Broland told the customer that she would help her if she stopped abusing her and other employees, the woman tossed the contents of the soup container across the counter into Broland’s face and then left the restaurant.
“My eyes were burning, my nose was bleeding, I was in a lot of pain. By the time I wiped it away and could almost see again, there were already customers and staff outside following her out,” she said in her TikTok video.
Police said that no one has been injured and that the soup had cooled enough to not burn Broland.
“The spices from it are what hit me the most,” Broland said. “I remember feeling the warmth of the soup, but my eyes burned so bad. My nose was burning. It kind of kind of took my breath away for a second because just the burning… I was really in shock from it all.”
The restaurant has since banned the woman from the restaurant and issued a statement asking the public to be respectful to staff.
“The Marquez family does not tolerate such behaviour, and we simply want our establishment to be a place where people can chill out and enjoy live music, delicious Mexican food, and the best local drinks — as we have stated on our social media accounts continuously,” Sol De Jalisco said in a Facebook post.
Broland said that other customers in the restaurant helped her clean up while others followed the woman outside where they recorded her license plate number.
The incident is just one in a long list of attacks on fast food and retail workers since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. The attacks have included customers throwing trays at 17-year-old fast food workers over the size of a tomato slice to a woman pulling a gun on a quick service restaurant employee over the length of time it was taking for food to come out to a man running over an employee when an egg roll was left out of his order.
According to a Black Box Intelligence study, a survey of restaurant workers found that 60 percent of restaurant workers said they had suffered from emotional abuse and disrespect from customers, and 78 percent said their mental health was negatively affected in the past year.
And a Business Insider report found that incidents of workers being attacked, or customers being aggressive, have increased over the last 18 months, leaving 39 percent of restaurant workers saying they are planning on leaving their jobs because of it.
In September 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines for employers to protect employees from violent customers, including providing employees with training on issues like threat recognition, conflict resolution, and nonviolent response; putting together a plan to respond to workplace violence; being aware of the potential for violent customers; installing security systems – like panic buttons and alarms – and training employees on how to use them; and identifying a safe area for employees to go if they feel they are in danger.