An Alabama fast-food worker who allegedly threw hot grease on a customer during a dispute over service in the drive-thru line, causing severe burns, was charged with assault, police said.
The 50-year-old woman was charged Monday following a confrontation that occurred Saturday afternoon at an Arby's restaurant in suburban Birmingham, according to a statement from the Hueytown Police Department.
Authorities did not provide details on exactly what prompted the dispute, but police said it did not appear the two women knew each other.
"We just know that it was an argument of some sort that just got out of hand," Hueytown Chief of Police Mike Yarbrough told NBC News affiliate WVTM in Birmingham.
“I would say, for lack of a better word, she just snapped,” Yarbrough continued. “All we know is that she got to a point, she went back and got grease and came out and poured it on our victim.”
The victim, who suffered second-degree burns over a large part of her body and was hospitalized, filed a civil lawsuit seeking an unspecified amount of money from the worker, Arby's and Alabama-based companies that operate the restaurant, court documents show.
A lawyer with Morris Bart, LLC, a firm representing the victim, told WVTM that the alleged incident seemed to happen after the victim ordered a milkshake. According to the lawyer, Ryan Canon, the manager then allegedly said some “impolite things” and “called (his) client a name.”
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Canon said, “My client simply asked whether the employee would appreciate her being called that,” Canon said. “That is when the employee allegedly went back, got the grease and threw it on her.”
Court records do not include the name of a defense lawyer who could speak on behalf of the worker, who was freed on $30,000 bail.
Arby's said it had fired the employee and called her actions “reprehensible.”
“We immediately terminated the offender, and we are cooperating with the local authorities in their investigation,” the restaurant chain said in a statement to NBC News. “Our heart goes out to the guest, and we are working to help support their recovery.”