Rantz: Video shows employee armed with bat fighting customer over mask argument in Seattle
A fistfight broke out at a Seattle Ace Hardware store after a fully vaccinated customer questioned why he needed to wear a mask.
Bobby Dixon and his friend were shopping for supplies at the Lake City Ace Hardware store on Sunday. Dixon was wearing a mask, but his vaccinated friend was not. When they were ready to pay for their items, Dixon says they were confronted by an employee who demanded his friend wear a mask.
Despite explaining he was fully vaccinated, Dixon says the unidentified employee was rude, demanding he put on his mask or leave. They exchanged words — and Dixon admits both sides got vulgar. But the pair left.
He wasn’t pleased with the customer service. Dixon wanted to go back in, he says, to get the employee’s name so he could report it to their manager. That’s when things turned violent.
Employee attacks customer in the video
As Dixon approached the store entryway, the employee that Dixon says was rude to him and his friend was waiting with a bat. He is not wearing an Ace Hardware uniform or nametag in the video. By his side was a coworker without a mask on — it was hanging below his chin.. His friend recorded the incident via a cell phone.
“You’re going to hit me with that bat? You taunt me with that bat?” Dixon asks.
The employee tells Dixon to get out then immediately pushes Dixon with the bat. As Dixon stumbles backward, the bat falls to the ground. The coworker without the mask yells obscenities at Dixon, and the employee throws the first punch.
“I wasn’t threatening, I never made any threats, and neither did my friend,” Dixon told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “I never touched the dude until he came at me, and I was just trying to defend myself.”
The employee struck Dixon multiple times. Dixon landed some punches — and a kick — of his own.
“I wasn’t trying to fight. I just kept to diffuse the situation,” Dixon explained. “And you know, you look in the video, he kept just coming towards me, and you even hear me tell him ‘stop.'”
Dixon is pressing charges
Dixon called the police, and he said he filed a report. He intends to press charges and says the employee “will have to be terminated.”
“That’s not customer service, and that’s not acceptable, and Ace Hardware needs to handle that,” Dixon said.
Reached by phone, a man who identified as the store manager declined an interview explaining he was going to talk to the owner about what happened first. The video only shows what happened outside the store, but not the events leading up to the fight. In the video, the employee seems to be the aggressor.
Dixon says nothing occurred inside the store that a reasonable person could view as a threat. He doesn’t understand why the employee needed a bat. In fact, Dixon says Ace Hardware has surveillance footage from inside the store. He encourages them to release it and says it proves he’s telling the truth.
“I’m kind of shook up. It’s kind of humiliating because I’m trying to run a business out here, and it’s not a good look for a business owner to be involved in something like that, but I want to clear the air,” Dixon said. “I was attacked.”
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