A man was bashed by a Coles worker on Christmas Eve after the shopper told the shelf stacker to wear his mask over his nose, leaving him bloodied and bruised.
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, headed to the Balgowlah store, in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, about 9.40pm on Friday to pick up a few last minute groceries before Christmas Day.
As he was walking down an aisle, he came across two employees stacking shelves and noticed one man’s mask was sitting beneath his nose.
The shopper asked the worker to adjust his face covering, after NSW reintroduced mask mandates indoors that day to combat the state’s soaring Covid outbreak.
But the worker refused, and replied: ‘What’s it to you?’ before punching the man twice in the face – knocking him flat to the ground.
‘I was felt like I was going to vomit,’ the man told Daily Mail Australia.
‘He thumped me on my head and mouth, and then as I fell to the ground I hit my head.
The man suffered cuts to his head, leaving blood dripping down his face, as his injured gums also filled his mouth with blood.
As he laid on the floor, the shopper shouted out for help, concerned about another attack.
Other employees rushed to the aisle and directed the attacker, understood to be in his early 20s, to walk away while the man called the police.
Four officers arrived a short time later, cleaning the man’s injuries and bandaging his head before calling an ambulance as a precaution.
After assessing his injuries, paramedics sent him home with Panadol about 11.40pm to avoid catching Covid in hospital ahead of the festive season.
‘It ruined my Christmas. I spent most of yesterday in bed,’ he said.
‘My family are all overseas and I didn’t want them to talk to me over Zoom, because I didn’t want them to know what had happened to me and worry.’
The shopper explained to Daily Mail Australia that after initially requesting the staff member wear the mask properly and being ignored, he went to seek help from a manager.
A manager followed the shopper back to the aisle, but at one point stopped and turned around, leaving the customer in the aisle with the un-masked staffer.
It was during this second interaction when he was bashed, after asking the staff member to put the mask on properly again.
He said he was shocked by the manager and staffs’ response to the situation.
‘I felt like the manager was accusing me of being the aggressor,’ the man said.
‘He said “stay with him”. Then he started shouting at me when I was on the phone to emergency services.
‘Nobody in Coles came up to me and said sorry for what happened. In fact, nobody asked if I was ok or asked if I needed a glass of water.’
The man said he is still recovering from an ongoing headache two days later and a bump on his head.
He said ‘disappointed’ is a mild expression for his feelings towards the supermarket giant and he now fears returning to his local shop.
‘You shouldn’t have to be afraid to go to your local Coles. It is understandable to be afraid of catching Covid, but you shouldn’t expect to be afraid of getting attacked.
‘It is one thing to be attacked by a shopper, but it is another when it is an employee.’
NSW Police told Daily Mail Australia the Northern Beaches Police command are still conducting inquiries into the investigation and no one has yet been charged.
Mask rules were reintroduced on Christmas Eve to help quell the Covid outbreak surging through Sydney, which swelled to a record 6,394 new cases on Sunday.
Face coverings must now be worn in all non-residential indoor venues, as well as on public transport.
Source: Daily Mail