Emily Russell was a store manager at an Ohio Chipotle when an irate customer hurled a chicken burrito bowl at her face. Now a judge has sentenced the customer to work at a fast-food job to avoid further jail time.
Rosemary Hayne, 39, was found guilty of one count of assault on Nov. 28 after admitting to throwing the burrito bowl at Russell in September.
“This is not ‘Real Housewives of Parma.’ This behavior is not acceptable,” Judge Timothy Gilligan of Parma Municipal Court said during sentencing, according to WJW, a Cleveland Fox affiliate that covered the sentencing in the courtroom. “You didn’t get your burrito bowl the way you like it, and this is how you respond?”
Hayne’s behavior went viral in a video showing her screaming at Russell, 26, then grabbing her food and throwing it directly in Russell’s face.
At first, Hayne was slated to pay a fine and undergo a 180-day jail term, with 90 days suspended. However Gilligan offered her a chance to reduce her sentence with a highly unusual proposition.
The judge presented her with an opportunity to cut her sentence by 60 days in exchange for consenting to work 20 hours per week at a fast-food restaurant for two months. Hayne agreed.
In the courtroom, Russell, the victim, told the judge the past two months have been the worst of her life. And she said she deals with the trauma of the incident daily.
She told The Washington Post that she was protecting a 17-year-old employee who was getting yelled at by Hayne. She remade her order twice and included extra protein and other ingredients to appease Hayne, she said. Hayne left with her food but returned a few minutes later. “She started screaming at me. . . . The next thing I knew she threw the food in my face. I was so embarrassed and in shock.” She said the food was 200 degrees because she had just made it and left her face burning red. “I couldn’t believe my customers had to witness that.”
Russell, who worked at Chipotle for more than four years, and has been in the service industry for nine, says she had drinks and sandwiches thrown at her by customers but never experienced something so violent at work before.
“I had to work with food in my face and hair for the next four hours after it happened because no one was sent to relieve me,” Russell said. She said she went to the emergency room after her shift.
Hayne was found at her home seven minutes after a 911 call, said Lt. Dan Ciryak of the Parma police. The report states, “Rosemary [Hayne] admitted that she became angry when a worker had incorrectly made her food at Chipotle and that she threw the food at the cashier. . . . She was sorry for what she had done.”
“It was pretty easy to locate her, as the caller provided her license plate information and the female’s receipt displayed her first name as Rosie along with her phone number,” Ciryak said.
“The health and safety of our employees is our greatest priority, and we’re pleased to see justice served for any individual that does not treat our team members with the respect they deserve,” said Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s chief corporate affairs officer.
Russell says Chipotle was “unsupportive” after the assault and she didn’t feel safe. “I was working 65 hours a week. I was exhausted. I had anxiety every day going to work,” she said. She quit a month after the incident.
She has gotten supportive comments from people across the United States and is glad to share her story if it can help other fast-food workers.
“Everyone has bad days, but it should never come to a point where you have to mistreat a human being,” she said.
She’s happy with the judge’s sentence, saying “she got exactly what she deserved” and now gets to walk in her shoes.
A GoFundMe campaign has raised nearly $2,000. Russell said she has used the money to help pay her bills and hopes to start therapy soon.
She has gotten a new job at a Raising Cane’s. She hopes to be promoted to manager in the next few months.