A man wearing a Make America Great Again hat showed his gun to an employee at a restaurant in Mission, Kan., after he was asked to provide an explanation for not wearing a mask in accordance with coronavirus restrictions, staff told local media this week.
Arlo Kinsey, 18, told The Kansas City Star that the encounter occurred shortly after the customer, who has not yet been identified, entered the eatery without a mask during Kinsey's shift at RJ’s Bob-Be-Que Shack a week ago.
Kinsey, who the paper noted in its coverage is now a “former” employee of the restaurant, said he asked the man when he first came in if he “could go get his mask or if he had a mask, and he said he had an exemption.”
“I asked him if I could see the exemption just to make sure, and then he showed me his gun, saying that that was his exemption,” he continued.
Moments later, Kinsey said he called for the restaurant's owner to speak to the man. Words were exchanged, and the man eventually left, Kinsey added.
“I just graduated high school. I’m working in a minimum-wage job just to save up for college, and then I’ve got to tell this dude to wear a mask because, that's, you know, what I’m required to do by law,” he said, referring to Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly's (D) recent order requiring all residents to wear masks in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
“And he’s going to shoot me because of that? It just doesn’t make sense to me. The cost-benefit analysis is just not, you know, just doesn’t work,” Kinsey said.
He added that he thinks the customer’s main intention was “to make a statement” but that his behavior was “definitely a threat.”
“I was looking at the gun thinking he was going to shoot me. ... My first thought was, I work in customer service, and this is really what’s going to happen? All we’re asking is that you wear a mask for a couple of minutes,” Kinsey told The Kansas City Star.
“We could have taken your order outside if you didn’t want to. But you go into an air conditioned area without a mask on, and if I tell you to wear one, you’re going to shoot me? Wow. I make $8.50 an hour, plus tips — for this?” he continued.
The whole incident lasted for “less than five minutes” overall, Kinsey said. “We didn’t have any time to call the cops and have them get here,” he added.
Bob Palmgren, who owns the restaurant, says he was in the kitchen when the man arrived before Kinsey came to him about the customer.
“I run over there, and I’m like, 'Hey, what’s going on?' And he shows me his Trump hat. And I like Trump. Everybody’s got problems. But it doesn’t make a difference. You don’t have a mask on. And I’m like, 'Your gun’s not going to kill coronavirus. Now get the hell out of here,” Palmgren told the paper.
While Palmgren says he has “a lot” of people come into the restaurant that are concealed carrying, he said he’s not used to incidents like the one involving the customer last week.
“Especially these days, it’s scary when people have any kind of gun, even if it’s a fake gun. You don’t know what he’s going to do,” he said.
“I have a lot of guys who I know come in here and are concealed carrying. But they aren’t showing their gun to anybody,” he added.
The report comes several weeks after a pro-Trump activist, Brandon Straka, was booted from an American Airlines flight after he refused to put on a mask.
The report also arrives roughly two days after President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE — who has often been seen without a mask in public in recent months despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommending face coverings amid the ongoing pandemic — was seen wearing a mask in front of cameras for the first time at Walter Reed hospital over the weekend.