You have to sometimes wonder about people who work the midnight fast food drive thru shifts. A southern California Del Taco customer found that out the hard way this week. The customer got into a dispute over his order, and the incident escalated until the Del Taco employee with whom he was engaged in discussion, 28 year old Gabriel Villalba, stabbed him in the abdomen with a knife.
So much for the customer always being right.
The man was driven to the hospital by friends, where he is expected to recover. In fact, my favorite part of the story was where the article reported, and I quote;
“His injury is serious but not considered fatal.”
Really? What was their first clue? The fact that he did not die? Perhaps they meant “not considered life threatening”. I do not think it could be considered fatal, until it was, of course, fatal. I suspect the guy who stabbed the customer and the person who wrote that article are related, or at least attended the same remedial classes in school.
Meanwhile, back at Del Taco, where Mr. Villalba has just proved that age old maxim, “you are only as good as your worst employee”, the company is left to clean up a mess not directly of their doing. Certainly, there will be those who blame the company, saying that they should never have employed a man who was potentially a homicidal lunatic. I submit to you that it was a 2 AM shift at a southern California fast food restaurant. You would almost need to be a potentially homicidal lunatic to work that shift. Of course, many of your customers that time of morning are no different in that respect.
I always feel a bit sorry for companies caught in this type of situation. It would be nice if we could live in a perfect world, but we don’t. Certainly some additional training on confrontation management might be in order. These shifts are difficult, and employees deal with a variety of issues and influences, not the least of which is alcohol. And don’t get me started on what a full moon can bring out…..
At any rate, this event certainly changed the dynamic at this particular restaurant. I’m pretty sure this incident probably delayed service for the customers in line behind the man who was stabbed, but I’ll bet they didn’t complain one bit.