CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Woman who threw bowl of food at Chipotle worker sentenced to work 2 months in fast food job

Dec 7, 2023, 10:27 AM

A customer who threw a burrito bowl in a Chipotle worker's face in September has been sentenced to ...

A customer who threw a burrito bowl in a Chipotle worker's face in September has been sentenced to work in the fast food industry for two months. (Mandatory Credit: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images/FILE)

(Mandatory Credit: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images/FILE)

New York (CNN) — A woman who threw a bowl of hot food in the face of a Chipotle worker has been sentenced to a month in jail — and two months working a fast food job.

Videos of the woman, Rosemary Hayne, berating Chipotle worker Emily Russell on September 5 and then throwing the food in her face at close range, went viral after the incident. Hayne, a 39-year old mother of four, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge and received the sentence last week in the Parma, Ohio, municipal court. Judge Timothy Gilligan gave her the choice of a 90-day jail sentence or a 30-day sentence on top of 60 days working in a fast food job.

“Do you want to walk in her shoes for two months and learn how people should treat people, or do you want to do your jail time?” Gilligan asked Hayne at the hearing.

“I’d like to walk in her shoes,” Hayne responded.

Hayne has yet to find the job, Gilligan and her attorney told CNN on Wednesday. Her attorney, Joseph O’Malley, said his client had no criminal record before the incident and that she is truly sorry for her actions that day.

“Let’s give her the opportunity to not let this one day define the rest of her life,” he told CNN.

Gilligan said Hayne will have to have her job approved by the court, and will have to work there 20 hours a week. O’Malley said Hayne does not currently have a job.

Gilligan told CNN he thought about the possible unusual sentence a couple of days before the November hearing.

“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.’”

Asked if he would want to hire Hayne if he ran a fast food restaurant, the judge said he doesn’t think she’ll have trouble finding a job.

“I don’t see her as any greater risk than anyone who walks in off the street,” he said. “I looked at it as someone who lost her cool.”

Gilligan said it’s the first time he’s handed down this kind of sentence, but unfortunately it’s the not the first incident of this kind to come before him. He said there was one case a couple of years ago in which a customer who didn’t get a cookie in a Happy Meal at a McDonald’s reached through the drive-thru window and started punching a worker. That defendant got 90 days in jail, he said.

“I see these cases more than I want to,” said Gilligan, who has been a judge for 30 years.

Asked for a comment on the case, Chipotle responded: “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.”

Hayne declined a request for an interview made through O’Malley. Russell told the court that she is still dealing with stress from the incident, and that she quit the job at Chipotle after the attack and found another job. She said she would like to begin counseling to deal with the trauma she is still experiencing from the attack.

One of Russell’s friends started a fundraising effort on social media for her and it has raised $7,300 so far, with most of that money coming since the first news reports about Hayne’s sentence last week. Russell told WJW in Cleveland that she was pleased with Hayne’s sentence.

“She’s going to get what she deserves,” she told the station. “She didn’t get a slap on the wrist. She’s going to learn to work in fast food, and hopefully it will be good.”

In addition to the jail time and time spent working in fast food, Hayne will have to pay a $250 fine and will be on probation for two years. Gilligan told CNN he’s not sure Hayne is as sorry as she claimed to be in court, pointing out that she was still complaining about the food during the hearing.

“She still has not picked up that this is not appropriate,” Gilligan told CNN Wednesday.

“You didn’t get your burrito bowl the way you like it, and this is how you respond?” he told Hayne during the hearing. He suggested she’s not going to be happy with the food she’s about to get in jail.

Related: Shop owner in Bountiful explains why she doesn’t allow tipping

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Woman who threw bowl of food at Chipotle worker sentenced to work 2 months in fast food job