'Cancel Culture?': McDonald's Customers Defend Employee in Viral Video

As fast-food workers have been subjected to various chaos throughout the pandemic, a pair of McDonald's customers recently came to the defense of an employee.

In a viral TikTok video viewed over 85,000 times, the patrons watched as a family consisting of a man, woman and boy walked into an unspecified McDonald's restaurant.

@phillysohostile

This is why people don’t want to go back to work for slave wages. Who wants to deal with this type of hostile work environment especially when your boss don’t even have your back!!! 02/06/22 #understaffed #mcdonalds #karen #jerk #demanding #service #orlando #florida #man #floridaman #republican #imembarrassed

♬ original sound - Philly

The video, posted by the account @phillysohostile, begins with an interaction between the man and a female employee. He seems to be upset at the lack of service, eventually causing the employee to walk into the back of the restaurant.

"You've been rude to her, she hasn't been rude to you," one customer said to the man in line.

"You shut up and stay out of this," the man responded. It caused the boy to get the man's attention.

A manager then came to investigate the situation. The same customer who spoke out on behalf of the employee approached the manager, saying, "She hasn't done anything. He's being an a**."

McDonalds Hiring
In a now-viral TikTok, McDonald's customers came to the aid of an employee after another customer berated them. A "We Are Hiring" sign hangs in front of a McDonald's restaurant on December 3, 2021, in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty

The patron and the woman recording the video encouraged the McDonald's employees to refuse service to the family due to his behavior. The man asked them if refusing service is part of "cancel culture."

After more back and forth, including the two patrons encouraging the man to leave, the manager seems to mention the child in regard to the food order.

The man then walked away from the register and toward the patron, exchanging more words until the woman convinced him to leave as other customers inside the restaurant looked on in silence.

"This is why people don't want to go back to work for slave wages," the video caption said. "Who wants to deal with this type of hostile work environment especially when your boss don't even have your back!"

Others who commented on the video also brought up the nonchalant attitude of the manager, who did not seem to deescalate the situation based on the video.

"Ugh, that manager is almost as bad as the customer," one person said.

"Amen!!!! How can anyone be okay with their coworker/employee getting bullied like that????" said the video poster. "If I was that manager I'd raise hell for my team!"

"[H]is son is disagreeing with his father's actions," another person said.
Another comment pondered whether the verbally abusive man treats his partner in that fashion.

This all occurred as the pandemic rages on, coupled with a worker shortage that does not seem to be improving based on various data.

A National Restaurant Association survey from last September found that 78 percent of industry operators said they do not have enough employees to handle all business, while almost 40 percent reported being at least 20 percent below staffing targets.

That included 44 percent of operators voluntarily reducing their dine-in capacities, including more than 60 percent of fast-food operators shutting down portions of their dining area to customers due to a lack of staff.

However, as noted in its fourth-quarter earnings report concluding on December 31, McDonald's sales increased 12.3 percent globally and 7.5 percent in the U.S.

Still, McDonald's CEO Chris Kempcsinski said following the company's third quarter that staff shortages remained "very challenging" and that he expected a "difficult environment for the next several quarters."

It's not just McDonald's, either. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the mean average hourly wage for fast-food workers is about $11.80, which would equate to about $18,000 per year if an employee worked 30 hours per week. That would still equate to poverty levels for many, notably those with children and without additional income.

Situations like those in the TikTok video, in which employees are berated by customers or even attacked with the intent of violence, are common in states like California—so much so that the AB 257/FAST Recovery Act is urging a change in philosophy from the top down at businesses that include McDonald's, Burger King, Jack in the Box and other service providers.