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Unhinged hardware store worker shoves customer with bat, throws punches after COVID-19 mask dispute: 'That's not customer service'

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Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @jasonrantz, composite

It would seem that social distancing wasn't too high up on the COVID-19 protocol list for one Seattle hardware store worker caught on cellphone video shoving a customer with a bat and then throwing punches.

What are the details?

Bobby Dixon told KOMO-TV he and a friend entered Tweedy and Popp Hardware at Lake City to buy screws on Sunday. Dixon said he wore a mask but his friend didn't, the station said, adding that signs posted on the front doors told customers that face coverings were required.

Dixon told KOMO that employees told his friend to mask up or leave — but his friend informed them he was fully vaccinated. The station said employees indicated mask-wearing was a store policy, and then things went downhill fast.

"It was a cussing match back and forth between them," Dixon told KOMO.

The station said Dixon's friend turned to go back outside, and Dixon headed for the cash register. But Dixon told KOMO that because the cashier was crude and offensive to him, as he was walking out he decided to stop, turn around, and head back to complain about the poor treatment.

"You work in customer service, and if you're going to be rude, I'm going to take your name down and give it to your boss," Dixon added to the station.

Then bat man showed up — which is when the video begins.

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @jasonrantz

"You're going to hit me with that bat? You taunt me with that bat?" Dixon is heard asking the bat-wielding employee, who ends up shoving Dixon out the door and punching him.

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @jasonrantz

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @jasonrantz

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @jasonrantz

"It was actually quite terrifying," Dixon told KOMO. "I've never had anybody come at me with a weapon like that, and it was flight or fight, and I was trying to get out of there, and he kept coming at me super aggressively."

Jason Rantz of KTTH-AM said Dixon's friend recorded the video of the fight, which shows Dixon beginning to fight back and landing a kick:

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @jasonrantz

Dixon manages to knock down the employee, and the pair wrestle:

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @jasonrantz

Things soon come to a close, and the employee heads back into the store — but Dixon and his friend continue to exchange words with both store employees.

Here's the clip. (Content warning: Language):

Now what?

KOMO said store employees refused to speak to the station about the incident, and messages left at the corporate offices of Ace Hardware — which supplies the store — were not immediately returned.

The station added that a report was filed with Seattle police, and detectives said they are trying to sort out conflicting versions of the incident. Police told KOMO that the employee they contacted claimed neither customer was wearing a mask. Dixon told the station he had a mask on while inside the store — but the cellphone video shows him not wearing a mask.

In addition, the police report indicates the store employee claimed both men attacked him even though the video shows only Dixon fighting the store employee.

"I wasn't threatening, I never made any threats, and neither did my friend," Dixon told Rantz during his KTTH radio show. "I never touched the dude until he came at me, and I was just trying to defend myself."

Dixon added to Rantz, "I wasn't trying to fight. I just kept trying to de-fuse the situation. And you know, you look in the video, he kept just coming towards me, and you even hear me tell him 'stop.'"

According to Rantz, Dixon said he intends to press charges and that the employee "will have to be terminated."

"That's not customer service, and that's not acceptable, and Ace Hardware needs to handle that," Dixon added to Rantz.

Dixon also said Ace Hardware should release surveillance video from inside the store and that it will prove he's telling the truth, Rantz reported.

"I'm kind of shook up," Dixon told Rantz. "It's kind of humiliating because I'm trying to run a business out here, and it's not a good look for a business owner to be involved in something like that, but I want to clear the air."

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