Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Service with a... shove

Pizza manager accused of assaulting customer, 76

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The corporate jargon always says that customer service comes with a smile.

But for 76-year-old Ed Rose, it came with a grab on the neck and a shove to the floor.

The alleged incident took place at the Pizza Hut in the Southdale Shopping Centre in St. Vital around 1 p.m. Friday. Rose said he went for a few slices of the restaurant's dessert pizza and a glass of Pepsi and instead wound up being assaulted by one of the restaurant's managers.

"I'm very angry," Rose said Saturday afternoon, fiddling with napkins in his hands and trying to hold back tears. "I went to a dance later that night and I didn't even enjoy myself."

Rose said the situation began when he tried to clear up some confusion over how he had paid for his meal with the manager. The manager ignored him, Rose said.

A few minutes later, the manager came back out, grabbed him by the neck, and dragged him to the floor, Rose said.

"I was shocked. It happened so fast I didn't know what the hell hit me," he said. "I'll never forget it."

Rose escaped uninjured, and several witnesses called police.

One witness, who didn't want to be identified, said the manager was arrested and taken away by police.

Police spokeswoman Const. Jacqueline Chaput said the 27-year-old manager faces an assault charge. He was released on a promise to appear.

"There's no way we condone any type of assault, especially on the elderly," Chaput said. "It's surprising to see it happen in this fashion, especially in the service industry."

In a statement, Pizza Hut called the incident "highly unusual," and an "isolated incident."

"Pizza Hut takes these matters very seriously and wants to assure customers that we are investigating the matter and fully co-operating with the authorities," the statement read. "We plan to take action once the investigation is complete."

Despite the incident, Rose was found at the same Pizza Hut Saturday afternoon.

"He's gone, why shouldn't I come back?" he said. "He got his just reward."

matt.preprost@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 4, 2009 A4

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