A Taste of your own Medicine

On the way home from one of my son’s volleyball tournaments last year, our family stopped at a fast-food restaurant in Ripon. Normally, this chain is well known for being very well run. On this day, however, we had to wait over 45 minutes for our food in the drive through. We would have left, but we had already paid.

So, I understand being upset when things don’t go the way they’re supposed to at a fast-food restaurant. But, when Rosemary Hayne’s burrito bowl wasn’t made the way she liked it at a Chipotle in Parma, Ohio, she should have just counted to 10.

Instead, Hayne berated Emily Russell, who was working behind the counter, and then violently threw the bowl in her face. The incident, which took place on September 5, was caught on video and quickly went viral after being posted online.

Hayne, a 39-year-old mother of four, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge and was originally sentenced to 180 days in jail, with 90 days suspended. However, last month, Judge Timothy Gilligan gave her a creative option – serve the 90 days or shave 60 days off her sentence by working 20 hours per week at a fast-food restaurant for two months.

“Do you want to walk in [Russell’s] shoes for two months and learn how people should treat people, or do you want to do your jail time?” Judge Timothy Gilligan asked Hayne at her sentencing. “I’d like to walk in her shoes,” Hayne responded.

Hayne, who is currently unemployed, will have to get the job approved by Gilligan. In addition, she has to pay a $250 fine and be on probation for two years.

Prior to the hearing, Gilligan had been pondering how to sentence Hayne. “Every time you watch the video, it makes you more and more upset,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘What else can I do rather than just have her sit in jail. Why should the city taxpayers pay for her and feed her for 90 days in jail if I can teach her a sense of empathy?’” Gilligan explained.

Joseph O’Malley, Hayne’s attorney, was pleased with the compromise. “Let’s give her the opportunity to not let this one day define the rest of her life,” he said, and that she “truly regrets her actions and the pain that it caused.” He claimed that Hayne had no criminal record before the incident and “is grateful for the opportunity to get a job to reduce her sentence and demonstrate her true remorse for her behavior at Chipotle.”

Not everyone is convinced that Hayne is sorry, however. Gilligan pointed out that she was still complaining about the food during the hearing. “She still has not picked up that this is not appropriate,” he told CNN.

Russell said that while Hayne apologized to her at the sentencing, she didn’t believe she was sincere. “She said she had a bad day, but that’s not the way you react when you have a bad day — to throw food in someone’s face,” Russell said. “No one should have to go through any physical attack. I want everyone to know it’s OK to have a bad day, but not to do anything like this.”

In response to the case, Chipotle released a statement saying, “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.”

I agree 100%. Except when they charge me extra for queso and guacamole on my burrito.

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Reg P. Wydeven

Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney at McCarty Law LLP
Hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps from a young age, Reg’s practice primarily consists of advising individuals on estate planning, estate settlement and elder law matters. As Reg represents clients in matters like guardianship proceedings and long-term care admissions, he feels grateful to be able to offer families thorough legal help in their time of need.

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