A manager at a supermarket in California has been hailed a hero after he protected customers from an aggressive mask-less man last week.
A video of the incident originally posted to an Instagram user’s ‘stories’ at around 6.15 p.m. on August 6 has since gone viral, gaining millions of views.
Filmed in a H-Mart Korean–American supermarket in Arcadia, California, the one minute video shows the unidentified man – reportedly an ‘anti-masker’ – squaring up to the store manager in an attempt to intimidate him.
A manager at a supermarket in California (pictured wearing the blue and orange jacket) has been hailed a hero after he protected customers from an aggressive mask-less man (pictured wearing a black t-shirt) last week
Reports suggest the man refused to leave the store when asked to do so for not wearing a mask, with the video claiming the man rammed his cart into the manager.
The store manager, who appears to be of Asian origin himself, is shown bravely standing his ground with his hands in the air as the mask-less man continues to walk towards him, his face a matter of inches away.
In the video, the aggressive man – who is white – is repeatedly told to leave the store, but refuses to do so, and continues to advance on the manager and other customers who can be heard shouting ‘get the hell out of here, no one wants you here’.
The store manager is heard telling the man not to touch him and to leave his customers alone, as he puts himself between the man and a group of women.
‘Get out, get out. My customers don’t want you here,’ he is heard telling the man.
Customers are also heard shouting at the man when a third man in security uniform appears at the scene. The man tells the manager ‘you’re breaking the law,’ and claims the manager ‘assaulted me’, but the other bystanders tell the security officer ‘no he didn’t, I saw the whole thing’.
‘You’re the one who doesn’t want to wear a mask right now. We’re all wearing masks. We’re all complying,’ another customer is heard saying.
Emilie Tan (@emilieeetan), who posted the video, told NextShark news outlet that she and other customers first found the man arguing with the manager, and that he was ‘already visibly aggravated,’ refusing to leave the store.
The unnamed man was seen in the viral video squaring up to the store’s manager, who bravely put himself between the man and a group of three women who were shopping at the time
She explains that the man had the manager in a corner as security personnel called 911, but that the incident escalated when the man shoved a cart at the manager ‘in an attempt to ram him’.
‘I started filming when I noticed an immediate change in the man’s expression and body language. He began directing his hostility toward the women,’ she said.
In a text overlay on the video, Tan explained what happened before the footage began. She was reportedly in the H-Mart shopping with her boyfriend at the time.
‘This man refused to leave after being asked, then proceeded to yell and argue with the manager, threatened to sue, got in his face, intimidated him, and rammed the shopping cart into him,’ Tan wrote.
‘Until these Korean ladies stepped in and started yelling at him to get the f out. He then tried to intimidate the woman and went right up to them, but the manager stepped in and protected them.’
Another caption added: ‘Mr. Manager did such a great job deescalating and making sure the ladies were behind him.’ In a third caption, she wrote: ‘Man tried to bully the wrong people!! Fool definitely didn’t expect all these ajummas to stand up to him.’
The store manager is heard telling the man not to touch him and to leave his customers alone, as he puts himself between the man and a group of women, pictured behind the manager left. One of the video captions read: ‘Man tried to bully the wrong people!! Fool definitely didn’t expect all these ajummas to stand up to him’
Ajumma is a Korean word for a married or middle-aged woman, and comes from the Korean world Ajumeoni. While it is sometimes translated to ‘aunt,’ it does not actually refer to a family relationship.
The video does not show the aftermath of the incident, but the man reportedly left the store once he was told the police were on their way.
Officers are said to have told the customers that there was nothing they could do, and they left the store without arresting the man while the manager waiting outside of the store to ensure he did not come back.
Speaking to news outlet Next Shark, Tan called the incident an ”eye-opening’ experience, adding that the H-Mart – where she regularly shops – has always been proactive when it comes to Covid-19 prevention methods.
‘I would say they have been the most diligent about enforcing sanitary/safety guidelines, even to this day. So to see someone outright refuse [wearing a mask] is surprising,’ she told the outlet.
She said the manager ‘left the biggest impact on me personally, as he never even took a step back or faltered from the man’s attempts at intimidation. I’ve seen so much media coverage on public attacks towards members of the Asian community since the pandemic began, and not much coverage on if others stopped to help.’
When he entered the store, reports suggest that the man walked straight past the hand sanitizer station where employees would request a person to wear a mask.
Pictured: The H-Mart Korean–American supermarket in Arcadia, California where the incident took place on August 6 last week
Upon seeing the video, Twitter users were quick to praise both the manager and the group of women for standing up for each other, while others suggested the man went into the store looking for trouble.
‘This is my H Mart, which I love and shop at all the time, and I’m both ashamed this would happen near where I live and also proud to live near these brave ladies who won’t take his BS. Good for them and good for the store employees for not backing down,’ one local wrote under the video.
Another said: ‘To walk into an HMart without a mask on during a pandemic is asking to get beaten by a large root vegetable. You know the ones I mean.’
A third person said: ‘What a dummy. Every time I go to my local Korean market, everyone is wearing a mask. From like the first week of lockdown in LA. He had to know going into H Mart without a mask was gonna cause trouble.’
Another person commented that they have always felt safe in H-Marts, writing: ‘Since the beginning of pandemic h-mart is one of the only places I’ve felt safe shopping. EVERYONE is wearing a mask there.’
Currently in Los Angeles Country there is a mask-mandate, meaning everyone over the age of 2 years old must wear a mask in all indoor public setting, as well as on public transport and other enclosed settings – regardless of vaccination status.
Since the start of the pandemic, the US has seen a wave of anti-Asian hate crimes, with 32 percent of Asian adults say they have feared someone might threaten or physically attack them, research shows.