WATERTOWN — A family was waiting in line for ice cream when another customer began yelling at them for not wearing masks, then spit at them as they got in their car to leave.
The owner of Cowlick Ice Cream on Route 3, Barbara Speary, and her daughter, Jennifer Hilpl, are trying to find the family who stopped at their shop Friday evening.
The family — a man, woman and child — were in line waiting to get ice cream. The shop has a rule that everyone must wear a mask when they get to the window or if they can’t socially distance themselves. The three weren’t wearing masks, according to witnesses, but they hadn’t approached the window to order yet and they were socially distancing, Ms. Hilpl said.
“They were just standing at the markings like they were supposed to,” she said.
But a woman — with her family, too — who had ordered and was waiting decided to verbally abuse the family, Ms. Hilpl said.
“She was so rude and so nasty,” Ms. Hilpl said. “She was doing this to a family with a young child, which to me is completely inappropriate.”
Instead of getting ice cream, the family decided to leave. Before the man got into his car with his family, the woman spit in their direction, Ms. Hilpl said, which she witnessed. In response, the man got into his vehicle and left with his family, she said.
“I was just so disgusted,” Ms. Hilpl said. “And we just want to make it right.”
A few days later, Ms. Hilpl posted on the Cowlick’s Facebook page about the incident, asking for help in finding the family that was allegedly harassed so she could give them a gift certificate. They had not tracked them down as of Tuesday afternoon.
“We feel so bad about the whole thing,” said Ms. Speary, who founded the shop 19 years ago. “It was totally unnecessary. We wear masks. We all want to be safe and we wear them out, but I don’t think people need to have that kind of reaction toward a family. It’s a sad situation.”
Since most people follow guidelines and the entire seating area of the shop is outside, this is the first incident they have had, Ms. Speary said.
“It’s getting a little ridiculous that people are being so mean to people,” she said. “Let’s all get along. I know it’s a delicate time, but we all have to get along. There’s no need for that at all.”