Customer Spits in the Face of a Barista and the Coffee Shop Captures It All on Video

The man allegedly has a history of harassing women on staff.
Customer Spits in the Face of a Barista and the Coffee Shop Captures It All on Video

The baristas at coffee shop Qualia were well-acquainted with one particular bearded customer. Assistant manager and barista Allie Viall says she’d warn new female employees about him and didn’t like to leave them one-on-one with him. Owner Joel Finkelstein says the verbally abusive guy “has never been my favorite customer.”

In November, the man came in while Viall was helping another customer and asked to use her lighter. She said no. “He was like, ‘Oh, you have one, and you’re not going to let me use it?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, exactly,” Viall recalls. “He stood there for a while and looked angry, so I said to him, ‘I find your entitlement irritating.’ And then he stormed out.”

The next day he returned while Viall was out and asked her co-worker where the “head ho” was. The co-worker told him to leave and not come back.

Viall didn’t see him again until yesterday around 11:45 AM. The staff reiterated that he wasn’t welcome. “‘So I’m banned from the coffee shop?'” Viall recalls him saying.  “‘Well, have it like you like it,'” he said before turning away.

The last thing Viall said to him: “Sorry, dude, there are repercussions for your actions.”

He then took a sip of water from the self-serve tap and sprayed it in her face:

Most of our customers are amazing and are a huge part of what gives Qualia its cozy neighborhood vibe. That being said—and as many of you who also work in the service industry know—we do get our share of rude boys. Today a customer who, for the entirety of his patronage, has shown a pattern of disrespect towards our female staff, chose to assault me, as you can see in the video below. The police are on the case, as well as the Qualia Quail Detective Agency, and we’re hot on his trail, but if you have any information on him, please contact us. #SmashThePatriarchy #APublicShaming

Posted by Qualia Coffee on Monday, January 22, 2018

Viall immediately called the police and filed a report for simple assault. She also posted security footage of the man on Facebook in an attempt to identify him.

The video has since gone viral with thousands of views. Numerous commenters say they know who he is—and that he’s known for bad behavior at other establishments too. (Washingtonian has not yet independently confirmed his identity. We’ll update this story when we do.)

Based on her conversations with others in the industry, Viall says, “it sounds like he has a really long track record of very similar behavior, specifically against women.”

Don’t miss a new restaurant again: Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

More:

Questions or comments? You can reach us on Twitter, via e-mail, or by contacting the author directly:
Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.