The Hangry Mob

, , , , , | Right | July 23, 2020

I am in high school, working at a local bagel store on weekends. Every morning is practically packed out the door with customers waiting in line for breakfast sandwiches and coffee. 

On this particular morning, I am the only cashier for a line of over twenty people, while all of my coworkers are busy making orders. 

A girl from one of my classes gets to the register. I notice that something seems off about her while she walks.

Friend: “So, how’s your history paper coming along?”

Me: “All right, I guess. I finished it a few days ago. You?”

Friend: “I just stayed up forty-eight hours straight finishing it.”

Me: “Wow, that’s—”

I get cut off mid-sentence when the girl collapses to the floor, hitting her head on the way down. I hop over the counter to help her. I call for help from the crowd, but the only people to come assist are my coworkers. I turn to the line of customers.

Me: “Somebody call 911!”

Twenty pairs of blank stares look back at me.

Me: “Lots of you have cell phones! Please! Somebody call for a paramedic!”

Customer #1: “I placed my order for some food; aren’t you guys going to finish it?”

Me: “Unless some of you come to help this poor girl instead, none of us can do our jobs!”

Customer #2: “I don’t have all day! Get back to work!”

Me: “Has anyone called 911 yet?”

Customer #3: “I have hungry kids at home! Hurry up!”

Taking this as a sign that 911 has still yet to be called, I pick up the store phone to call 911 myself. My coworkers manage to revive her, but she’s still in serious condition. By now, the crowd is starting to get unruly, and they focus on me.

Random Customer:Great! Now he’s on the phone! Kids are so disrespectful these days!”

911: “911, what’s your emergency?”

Me: “I’m at [Store] and a teenage girl passed out and hit her head!”

Another Random Customer: “YOU JUST LOST A CUSTOMER! THIS IS RIDICULOUS!”

Me: “There’s a mob of angry customers forming, so please hurry!”

911: “Did they cause her injury?”

Me: “No! She just passed out from lack of sleep!”

911: “Are you in any danger?”

Yet Another Customer: “F*** YOU! I’M LEAVING!”

Me: “I’m not sure… They’re just violently hungry!”

911: “Sadly, I understand the situation all too well. Stay calm until paramedics and police arrive. Just to be safe, extra officers have been dispatched.”

She stayed on the phone with me and gave my coworkers and me instructions on how to help the girl out until paramedics arrived. By the time the police arrived, most of the customers in line had left out of frustration. The girl was taken to the hospital; she ended up being just fine, though.

I would have lost my faith in humanity that day, except that my manager immediately transferred me to a different store that wasn’t nearly as crowded on weekends, promising me that I’d have a better experience. The store was newer, the location was better, and the customers and I quickly got to know each other on a first-name basis. Thanks to them, I realized the whole ordeal was just an isolated incident.

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