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New York Ice Cream Store Manager Fired For Refusing To Serve Coughing, Maskless Customer

Eyewitness News ABC7NY/YouTube

A manager of a Carvel ice cream store in Long Island claims he was fired for refusing to serve an unmasked customer who was coughing.

Despite the state’s mandate requiring all residents to wear face coverings inside restaurants, the manager said his boss ordered him to serve all customers – regardless of whether or not they had masks on – because the business was losing money.

You can watch the news report below.

The presently unemployed Carvel store manager, Thomas DeSarle, described the condition of the sick customer he encountered on July 11 who was not adhering to the protective health guidelines.

He told WABC:

“I heard the customer coughing in front of the store. He was standing there coughing into his hand. And again, not coughing to clear his throat but coughing loud, like a wet cough.”

“I said, ‘Sir, do you have a mask?’ Didn’t respond to me. I said, ‘Sir, can I get you a mask?’ All he did was keep looking up at the board, trying to order.”

DeSarle had hoped the uncooperative patron would pay with a credit card as a form of contactless payment but instead handed the employee a $10 bill that was soaked with perspiration.

That was the moment DeSarle decided to cancel the transaction in order to protect himself from potentially getting sick after touching the money.

But according to Newsday, Annie Chen – the franchise owner of the shop – had a different account of the incident and contended that DeSarle was rude to the customer, failed to offer a mask provided by Carvel to the customer, and then quit three days later.

Chen recalled:

“He yelled at the customer very loudly. I told the manager that ‘you can’t talk that way.’ Just talk to the customer politely.”

She asserted:

“Nobody fired him.”

When DeSarle returned to work on July 13, Chen demanded a commitment from him that he would not refuse service to a customer for any reason.

He refused to comply and maintains he was let go.

“I was told that if was too scary to work here no more, too scary to work here, you don’t have to work here anymore. And I was terminated from my job.”

DeSarle was a manager at the Forest Avenue store location in Glen Cove and had been working 50-hour work weeks for two years up until the incident.

“To be fired for following rules and for following state guidelines seems not correct, doesn’t seem right. Doesn’t seem right to me.”

The conflicting accounts left this Twitter user with questions.

DeSarle is now considering taking legal action.

His personal attorney, Jon Bell, presented the plans under consideration for them to move forward.

“We have a few options. First is filing a complaint on the state website with Cuomo, we’re considering doing that. Or we may go file a state action with a whistleblower violation.”

Bell told Newsday:

“He was a very loyal employee but his employer put profits before his own safety.”

The media outlet said they contacted a corporate spokeswoman for Carvel for further comment but have not yet received a response.


Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1