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Ice cream shop owner shares passionate note defending teen workers harassed over mask policy

As more and more videos of adults throwing tantrums over being asked to wear masks go viral, one has to feel for the employees on the receiving end of such behavior. It's hard enough to have to work serving the public during a pandemic. Having to politely but firmly deal with irate customers taking their angst out on you, especially when you have no control over policies or legal mandates, must be endlessly frustrating.

One might assume that grown-ups would rise above the urge to harass teenagers who are just trying to do their job serving them in the safest way possible, but that's unfortunately not always the case.

The owner of Mootown Creamery, an ice cream shop in Ohio, called out the folks who have been attacking her young female employees. Angela Brooks wrote on the shop's Facebook page:


I've been trying not to say anything, but it is getting out of control. 🛑 STOP!!! 🛑 Stop yelling at these young girls. Stop slamming doors. Stop swearing at them and making a scene. STOP!!! These girls are wearing masks for YOUR protection. They are required by the state to wear them, and they do so with a smile because they care about you and your safety. In order to protect them and our other guests, I made the decision to require face masks in our store. I made that decision, not them!

Do you know how hard it is to work a summer rush in a face mask? With a line of customers to the door, some waiting outside, online orders dinging on a tablet, the phone ringing off the hook -- and then have a customer throw a temper tantrum in the store calling the girls "paranoid" or "anti-american" or even worse - CUSS AT THEM! (Does it feel good to make a 16 year old girl cry in the bathroom? Or sob on her way home from work? Does that make you feel better about Covid? How would you feel if someone did this to your child?)

Knock it off!!!!!! I get it. This sucks. Covid is one of the most awful things many of us have experienced in our lifetime. Our lives are flipped upside down. Businesses are closing. Some of us are still out of work. We are stressed out, worried, and frustrated. However that is no excuse to take out your frustrations on teenage kids serving ice cream! (Most of which this is their first job!) Are you serious?! What control do they possibly have over the situation?

You are not welcome here if you have that little respect for us. It is not about the sales. Go somewhere else if you want to behave that way. The customers who are respectful, loving, understanding and kind are welcome at Mootown. We serve ice cream and smiles. If going out for ice cream puts you in that much of a bad mood, stay home!! You are not going to ruin the experience for everyone else.

We offer curbside pickup, outdoor ordering, online ordering, delivery to your home, phone orders -- there are a dozen different ways for you to place an order and still maintain your rights to not wear a mask. If you don't have a mask or don't believe in social distancing - we respect that. We'll take your order in any of those several ways, or understand if you don't come back until after Covid. But you don't get to walk in the store and yell at the girls. THAT STOPS NOW!!!

To those of you who haven't been absolute monsters during all of this -- THANK YOU!!!! We love you, appreciate you, and look forward to seeing you soon! 🐮🍦

Brooks set up a "virtual tip jar" for the girls through GoFundMe, which she said would be split evenly between the 16 part-time employees, many of whom are working to pay for college or saving to buy a car. Though the initial goal was $500, people have donated nearly $10,000 in a week.

In addition to the money, people have left supportive messages on the GoFundMe page, which hopefully help balance out the terrible treatment these girls have had to endure.

"Consider us buying virtual ice cream with a smile on our faces. Yum! These are exceptional times and we all have to be more generous and thoughtful and caring with each other to get through them. Thank you all for doing the right thing!"

"These young people deserve it. Bullying a bunch of teenagers just trying to do a job and save money is despicable. I hope this shows them that there are good people out here who recognize the difficulties they face just trying work a job to save money."

"Thank you for standing on the side of sanity and the health of the community!"

"I donated because the owner stood up for her employees. And the owner is a valued member of the Berea, Ohio community. She is providing first jobs to young ladies and these LADIES need to know they are appreciated."

Even in all of the madness and mayhem of the moment, it's heartening to see people rally around those who are following public health recommendations and doing what needs to be done to protect everyone—even those who may not appreciate it.


Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

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