Judge Cooks Up a Unique Penalty in Chipotle tussle

The Rising Tide of Entitlement in Hospitality

In an era where ‘the customer is always right’ often leads to extreme entitlement, the September Chipotle incident in Ohio stands out. As someone with over twenty years in the food and beverage industry, I’ve seen firsthand the shift in customer attitudes. The case of Rosemary Hayne is a prime example.

Rosemary Hayne, 39, turned a regular visit to Chipotle into a scene of chaos. After confronting a 17-year-old cashier about an issue with her burrito, she escalated things by throwing her hot food at the manager, Emily Russell. This incident, captured and shared by a customer, became a viral sensation, highlighting the difficulties faced by hospitality workers.

Come December 6th,

Hayne faced her sentence and was found guilty of 1 count of assault with a burrito.

  Initially, she was facing a fine and a 180-day jail term, with 90 days suspended. However, Judge Timothy Gilligan presented an unusual alternative. He offered to reduce her sentence by 60 days if she agreed to work 20 hours per week at a fast-food restaurant for two months. Hayne accepted this offer. I’m not aware of all the details but, 

“I wish her sentence required her to work exclusively during brunch shifts at a restaurant, serving endless frose and mimosa specials.  Only allowed to serve the post-church crowd,  bachelorette parties, and the discerning ‘Hat ladies’.”  also who the hell is going to hire her?

Karen 1 Copy

Karen sentenced | Image by Jerbear

While the sentence handed to Hayne at Chipotle is unique, it’s not the only instance where the courts have used industry-specific community service as a means of imparting valuable lessons. Here are five more examples that highlight this approach:

  1. Restaurant Rampage, Texas (2021): After a customer’s disruptive behavior over a mistaken order, the judge sentenced them to 50 hours of service in a local diner, hoping to teach patience and respect.


  1. Fast Food Fiasco, California (2022): A disruptive incident in a fast-food parking lot led to an unusual sentence of 30 hours of work in the same fast-food chain, providing an inside look at customer service challenges.


  1. Retail Tantrum, Florida (2019): A person who damaged store property during an argument was ordered to complete 40 hours of community service in retail, gaining perspective on the retail working environment.


  1. Airline Aggression, Nationwide (2020): Following aggressive behavior on a flight, a passenger was sentenced to 60 hours of helping airport staff, including guiding passengers and handling luggage.


  1. Hotel Disturbance, New York (2022): A hotel guest who caused a significant disturbance was required to work 45 hours in hotel hospitality, to understand the industry better.

This approach not only serves as a punishment but also as an eye-opener for the offenders, hopefully leading to increased empathy and understanding towards service industry workers.

I just want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the judges who have taken such creative and insightful steps in their rulings. Their decisions go beyond traditional punishment; they pave the way for real-life lessons and growth. Judges like Timothy Gilligan and others across the country are not only upholding justice but are also contributing to a broader societal change.