A combative customer, who was shopping at a Korean supermarket in California without wearing a mask, was caught on video being aggressive with the store's manager.
Emilie Tan was shopping there with her boyfriend when she witnessed the encounter at the H Mart in West Huntington Drive, Arcadia around 6:15 p.m. on August 6.
When she first saw the disruptive customer, Tan said he was "already visibly aggravated."
He was apparently yelling in the manager's face and refusing to leave "because he didn't want to wear a mask."
A security guard called the police as the manager was being cornered by the verbally hostile shopper who ignored the manager's orders to leave the store.
Tan told Nextshark she and her boyfriend chose not to intervene because she was afraid it would escalate "into something worse/physical."
She described the man as being "unpredictable" while the manager was "still professional."
Tan and her boyfriend stayed in the vicinity so the manager was not left alone with his aggressor.
But things took a turn when the man took a shopping cart and "flipped" it in his direction "in an attempt to ram him."
When three female customers began to intervene, Tan took out her phone and started to film him.
"I started filming when I noticed an immediate change in the man's expression and body language. He began directing his hostility toward the women."
You can watch the clip, here.
Anti-masker refuses to leave H Mart, 'Korean Uncle' manager body blocks to protect customers youtu.be
At one point, the customer pointed his finger at the manager and told him, "You're breaking the law."
When the man accused the manager of assaulting him, one of the customers interjected:
"No he didn't! You're the one who doesn't want to wear a mask right now. We're all wearing masks. We're all complying."
Tan said the man started heading for the exit after learning the police were on the way. When officers arrived at the scene, they escorted the man out but did not arrest him.
The police told witnesses they "couldn't do anything" and that "it happens."
One Asian social media user, however, had a suspicion.
Tan told the media outlet that witnessing the customer aggressively ignoring the store's mask-wearing policy was an "eye-opening" experience.
As a regular customer at the H Mart outlet, she noted how the store was always diligent in enforcing safety guidelines during the pandemic.
"I would say they have been the most diligent about enforcing sanitary/safety guidelines, even to this day. So to see someone outright refuse [wearing a mask] is surprising."
What left an impression on Tan was the manager's handling of the situation.
"He never even took a step back or faltered from the man's attempts at intimidation," she said.
Tan added that she felt "empowered" after watching the other fearless female shoppers stepping in to defend the manager because "I've seen so much media coverage on public attacks towards members of the Asian community since the pandemic began, and not much coverage on if others stopped to help."
Despite the intensity of the confrontation, Tan was relieved the man didn't use racial slurs or made other discriminatory comments.
"My heart would have been much heavier after this situation, but instead this only makes me realize how burnt out everyone is and how much of a mental toll the pandemic has taken."
With the threat of the new virus variant rapidly increasing, Los Angeles County—where the city of Arcadia is located—reinforced the mask mandate to require everyone to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces, regardless of their vaccination status.