Homeless Man Charging Phone at a Dunkin' Got Rude Surprise

Workers terminated after dumping water on him in 'cruel' incident caught on video
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2018 7:33 AM CDT
This Jan. 22, 2018, file photo shows the Dunkin' Donuts logo on a shop in Mount Lebanon, Pa.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

(Newser) "Cruel" is how people are describing an incident that took place at an upstate New York Dunkin' Donuts, and the company seems to agree. The Post-Standard reports that on Sunday evening, Jeremy Dufresne (aka Jeremy Young), a homeless man whose family says he has epilepsy and schizophrenia, had come inside the Dunkin' to warm up and charge his cellphone so he could call his mother, which he does each night. As he waited for the phone to juice up, he put his head down, which is when a video that's since gone viral captured what happened next: A Dunkin' worker dumped a pitcher of water on Dufresne, while someone laughed in the background. "How many times I've got to tell you to stop sleeping in here," the employee says as Dufresne scrambles to his feet and tries to collect himself, his phone, and his charger. "You know I'm not playing with you."

After the video circulated, per USA Today, a homeless advocate organized a protest outside the store, and the company that owns that Dunkin' Donuts said it fired the employees involved and will help better train other workers "how to engage with homeless individuals." The Post-Standard reports the Onondaga County DA is investigating and that the workers could get hit with harassment charges. "He probably had some personal problems of his own and … took it out on someone else, like me," Dufresne says. His aunt, meanwhile, tells Spectrum News she's "appalled," and that her nephew is a "caring" person who's been harassed before and whom she's tried to have live with her; Dufresne tells the Post-Standard he prefers to live outside. A GoFundMe created to "help [Jeremy] get on his feet" has raised more than $5,500. (There was recently hubbub at a Baltimore Dunkin' Donuts.)

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