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Oakland McDonald’s Employee Attacked After Asking Customer to Mask Up

Police confirm the attack and say they’re investigating

A worker at an Oakland McDonald’s says a man attacker her when she told him he needed to wear a mask to order.
Photo by Yuriko Nakao/Getty Images

A 19-year-old worker at an Oakland McDonald’s says that a drive-through customer physically attacked her last month, after she told him he needed to wear a face covering to be served. According to the worker, as opposed to backing her up, the restaurant manager gave the angry patron her full name and refused to help police investigate the case.

According to a report filed with worker protection agency Cal/OSHA (the full report is embedded below), 19-year-old Maria Resendiz was working the drive-through of the McDonald’s restaurant at 6623 San Pablo Avenue on June 27, when at about 3 p.m., a man pulled up to her window with an uncovered face.

Resendiz says that though there are signs at multiple spots in the drive-through saying that customers must have their faces covered when they order and pick up food, the man said that he wasn’t aware that he needed a mask. When she asked him to don one, she says he said, “I don’t need no Mexican bitch to tell me what to do;” as “his head, arms and part of his chest were outside the car window,” Resendiz’s report states, she feared for her safety and “threw a children’s size cup of water at his car.”

Instead, she says the man parked, then walked back up to the window, allegedly banging on it and making loud threats, including use of the N-word; he also allegedly demanded her full name and the restaurant’s corporate phone number. “He wouldn’t stop screaming the slurs, insulting me and calling me fat and saying he has my job in his hands,” Resendiz said in her report.

According to Resendiz, when she retreated from the window to call 911, the restaurant’s manager attempted to hand the man a piece of paper with Resendiz’s full name on it, saying that if he had her name, he’d go away. When Resendiz tried to again close the window, she says the man hit her, slapped her, and grabbed her neck. Resendiz says that the assault didn’t end until the man’s companion emerged from the car and pulled him away. After he left, Resendiz says, she called 911, but when police arrived the restaurant manager “refused to cooperate and did not provide the video.”

Resendiz says that just 30 minutes before the incident, Michael Smith, the owner of the restaurant, told her that if a customer arrived without a mask, “don’t serve them. That is all you can do.” When contacted by Eater SF, Smith said via a spokesperson that he learned of the attack on Saturday, and that Oakland police have since been “welcomed into the restaurant to review security footage and are still investigating this matter.”

Oakland police spokesperson Johnna Watson confirms that Resendiz was “assaulted and threatened” on June 27, and says that no arrests have been made in the case. The attack is just the latest incident to involve aggression over face mask rules: As Eater Detroit reported last month, workers at restaurants across the country continue to face customers angered by the expectation that they keep their faces covered. In California, people have been legally required to wear face coverings any time they leave the house since mid-June, and Alameda County (in which this McDonald’s is located) has required mask wear since April 17, 2020.