As pandemic restrictions begin to ease and more people are allowed the privilege of going places other than their homes and local parks, there’s been a growing number of attacks on entry-level, often low-wage employees tasked with enforcing mask mandates. Most recently, a teenager working at Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, was punched in the face after asking a couple to put their masks on while walking through the park, the Washington Post reports. According to the Post, the teen “needed double jaw surgery after the assault,” and also lost a tooth. Another employee who tried to help the situation was also punched for interfering.
Sesame Place is an outdoor amusement park meant to replicate the set of the children’s show Sesame Street. From the many many times I have sojourned to the place of Sesame it’s evident that a large number of their employees are either teenagers or young 20-somethings off from college, some of whom have to endure a summer dressed as Big Bird or Elmo. It is not, by any means, a job that should entail risking one’s safety and well-being.
But with no direction from the federal government on how to manage a global pandemic, the burden of protecting people from themselves has somehow fallen at the feet of service workers, grocery store employees, and transportation workers who have been physically attacked for asking people to wear a face-covering in public. When the pandemic first started these very same people were being hailed as heroes and essential workers, now that everyone has had a few months to stew those same essential workers are being blamed as if it’s their fault Americans been trapped at home all this time.
Troy McCoy, the man who assaulted the teenager who asked him to wear a mask, was arrested on Wednesday in the Bronx. The unnamed teen has been released from the hospital and continues to recover at home with the help of a GoFundMe established to aid with his medical expenses.