When I was 15 (33 now), I started working the concession stand at a large movie theater in my home town. It was an awful job: minimum wage, miserly business practices, rude managers, lots of faulty equipment, constant scorn from customers over the ridiculously over-priced goods, etc. By far the worst of it was a huge display literally right above the concession stand that loudly played the same 15-minute "Coming Attractions" reel on loop, all day long and would only be changed about once a month. It was maddening. But through it all, my interactions with the other concession stand employees made it bearable, and often even a lot of fun... except for this one time in particular.
The theater was undergoing massive renovations and for the grand reopening, they had hired a bunch of new staff. Aside from some polite conversation while training them, I hadn’t really got to know any of them very well. But for the most part, they were all pretty cool, except for this one New Girl (NG). She really stood for being particularly lazy and incompetent. And I avoided her as much as possible.
Every time I worked the same shift as her, I'd notice she would show up with a few of her friends (who didn't work there). Sometimes, NG's entourage would just hang out in lobby seating area or play in the arcade, but most of the time, they'd be off to the side of the concession stand chatting with NG. During this time, she would completely ignore customers even when it was super busy.
The managers eventually noticed the huge discrepancy in sales between her and other employees. She made up some story about it being her first job and she was working hard to get faster at it. For some reason, they bought that excuse and she continued to chat it up with her friends for most of her shifts.
On the day of the incident, I was working the day shift (10am-6pm) and the weather wasn't great so it was super busy. We were pretty under-staffed that day, so the stand was a huge mess (dangerously so) but no one had time to clean up. Finally at 3pm, the first few people on the evening shift show up (including NG … and of course her entourage). The manager sets them up on their registers and as she leaves, tells me to come off of mine so I can clean and restock the stand.
I wasn't in the best mood at this point -- you try listening to the Spice World trailer on loop for five hours straight while serving angry customers and trudging through an inch of stale popcorn and spilled soda -- but I was happy to get away from my register for a few minutes, and quickly head to the stock/utility room to grab a broom and dustpan.
Not a minute later, I come out and NG has already abandoned her register to chat with her friends just outside the door to the stockroom. It's a tight working space and NG is a big girl, so she's pretty much blocking my path between the stockroom and the rest of the stand.
I say "Excuse me," she glares at me before making only the slightest effort to get out of the way and returns to her conversation.
I quickly sweep the floor and clean up various spills while nimbly dodging my coworkers who are frantically serving their long lines of customers. NG is still chatting with her friends and blocking the door to the supply room. I go to put the broom away, mumbling another "excuse me" as I squeeze by and she ignores me.
This happens several more time as I'm going back and forth from the stockroom as I empty the overflowing trash and restock everything in the stand. The whole time, NG keeps getting back in my way and I keep politely asking her to move, which seems to be annoying her quite a bit.
When I finish those duties, I wash my hands and page the manager to the stand before returning to my register and the eager hordes of waiting customers. NG hears this and scurries to her register and actually begins serving people. About an hour or two go by and finally everything dies down. I don't have any customers and things are getting pretty gross again, so I go back to grab the broom. I come out and NG is once again back to chatting with her friends. I sigh as I squeeze by her.
When I go to put the broom away, I notice NG and her friends are all staring at me and they look pissed. We then have the following exchange (paraphrasing from memory):
NG: "What the fuck is wrong with you?!"
Me: "Uh, sorry?"
NG: "You keep touching me every time you go by."
Me: "Oh, sorry. There's not much room back here; I didn't mean to bump into you."
NG: "Bull shit! You kept touching and rubbing up on me, you fucking perv. It's disgusting."
NG: "They all saw it [referring to her friends] and if you fucking touch me again like that, I'm gonna tell my boyfriend."
Me: "Seriously? You were blocking the door and I needed to get by. I said excuse me."
NG: "Whatever. My boyfriend is going to beat the shit out of you when he hears."
At this point, I'm at a complete loss and offer her a, "I don't have time for this," and walk away. All my other coworkers were too busy to have seen any of the alleged groping.
Also, I'm gay and the idea of me perving out over a large, lazy girl is laughable. Still, I started to stress out over the possibility of getting in trouble for it, so I'm like "fuck it" and go to tell a manager what happened. In the >1 year that I'd work there, I'd only got into minor trouble once (kind of a funny story involving an unhappy customer and a fit of uncontrollable laughter), so I figured the managers would probably give me the benefit of the doubt.
I go to the office and tell the manager what happened and she's LIVID. I assume it's me she's angry at and start apologizing, saying it was a misunderstanding and wouldn't happen again. At some point in my rant, she cuts me off and goes to look at the monitor on a different desk. I couldn't see what she was looking at, but she motioned for me to leave. I go back to the concession stand, ignore NG's and her friends' disparaging remarks and return to my register.
About twenty minutes later, the manager leaves the office and storms over to the concession stand. NG sees her coming and gives me a smug smile and says how I’m pretty much "fucked." NG goes up to the manager, says a few things while gesturing towards me and the two of them head to the office, but not before giving me another smug smile.
They’re in there for an extremely tense ten minutes or so; the whole time I’m shaking, ranting to some coworkers about what happened.
When the door finally opens, NG comes out in tears, makes a bee-line to the exit and leaves the theater. Her friends see this, and rush out after her. Meanwhile, the manager comes over to talk to me to explain what happened.
Apparently, when I left the office after explaining the situation, the manager reviewed the CCTV footage of the concession stand. She saw no evidence of inappropriate touching, but she did see me hard at work while NG was completely ignoring her duties. New Girl even admitted to threatening me. So for those reasons, she was fired and told not to come back or the police would be called.
Biggest sigh of relief ever. And thankfully, NG’s (probably imaginary) boyfriend never beat me up.