Teenage Chili’s hostess says a large group of women attacked her after she tried to enforce COVID-19 guidelines
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB/Gray News) - A 17-year-old hostess at Chili’s was reportedly attacked by a group of more than 11 women after she told them they could not all sit together, per the restaurant’s COVID-19 social distancing policies, WAFB reported.
“I couldn’t believe, like over two for 25s, and three for 10s, I got attacked,” said Kelsy Wallace, 17, former hostess at Chili’s on Constitution Avenue in Baton Rouge.
Wallace is a straight A student at Broadmoor Senior High School at EBR Career and Technical Education Center. She’s also studying to be an EMT. She has worked at the Chili’s as a hostess since June to try to make some extra money.
“My general manager and my other managers tell us we cannot sit a table bigger than six because of the corona[virus]. We are not supposed to separate them,” said Wallace.
That policy has caused some frustration between patrons and employees recently. On Sunday, a group of 11 or more women came into the restaurant requesting to sit together at one table.
“And they got upset, so the first thing I did was go get my manager,” said Wallace.
Wallace said right after she brought one of her managers out to deal with the escalating situation, she was standing right behind them, and the party was still irate. That’s when both the group of women and Wallace started exchanging words, and allegedly the group of women made the first move.
“But then one girl come and she just hit me; we just started fighting. And all everybody who they was with just started hitting me, and the lady who pushed me first, she takes the wet floor sign, cocks back, and hits me with it in my eye,” said Wallace.
The Baton Rouge Police Department was called to do a report, but all the women had apparently left in their cars by the time officers arrived.
Wallace went to the hospital. She had to get stitches above her eye. Hair was also pulled from her scalp, and she had a few broken nails.
Her grandmother is in disbelief this happened to her granddaughter.
“I couldn’t believe they would do or act like that, and then I mean, grown women, to fight a 17-year-old child at her job, who’s trying to work to get her graduation things together so she can go off to college,” said Lorrain Byrd, the victim’s grandmother.
The manager of that specific Chili’s restaurant said, “This isn’t tolerated,” and “they are very sorry this happened and hopeful for a resolution soon.”
Wallace says she was just doing her job.
“I was just trying to follow the rules and make sure that I wasn’t going to get in trouble,” she said. “Like this is just overwhelming. I just cannot believe that this happened to me of all people.”
Wallace will head back to school soon, but says she will not return to the Chili’s.
If you have any information on the women involved in the incident, call Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867.
A representative from Chili’s gave WAFB the following statement about the alleged incident:
“We care deeply for every ChiliHead and are disappointed by the incident that took place at our Baton Rouge Chili’s on August 9. We do not tolerate violent behavior in our restaurants, and are taking this incident very seriously as the safety and health of our Team Members and Guests is our top priority. Following this unprovoked attack, we immediately provided medical attention to our Team Member and called the local police department who is looking into this situation. We have made several attempts to contact the impacted Team Member and her family since the incident to provide support, but unfortunately have not received any response.”
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