‘Karen’ Kicked Out of Taco Shop After Assaulting Worker

By: Lauren | Published: Dec 28, 2023

A video went viral this year that showed an angry customer screaming profanities and physically grabbing an employee at a taco restaurant in San Diego, California. 

The original video has since been removed, though by now, there are enough copies circulating to see exactly what happened. And as with any viral video, debates have sparked across a variety of platforms as to who was really in the wrong here. 

What Happened at Lucha Libre Taco Shop?

Before diving into the many sides of the debates, it’s first important to understand what actually happened at the famous SD taco restaurant, Lucha Libre.

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Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop logo in pink

Source: @luchalibretacoshop/Instagram

On May 9, 2023, a woman ordered tacos from the shop via their website and went into the store to pick them up. Her payment had already gone through, so technically, she just needed to grab her tacos and go, but that’s not exactly how it went. 

Confusion Regarding the Receipt

In the video, it’s clear that the customer wants the receipt for her order. She continually yells at the Lucha Libre employee, telling her to give her the receipt that she is holding on the other side of the counter. 

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Screenshot of a TikTok video posted by @sandiegoville of a woman verbally and physically assaulting a restaurant employee

Source: @sandiegoville/Instagram

However, the Lucha Libre worker refused to give her the receipt while trying to explain that she had already received her receipt via text and that the receipt she was holding was for the store’s records. 

The Conversation Didn’t Go Well

The conversation about the receipt wasn’t really a conversation at all but an all-out argument. By the time the person started filming, the customer was already irate and screaming at the employee. 

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Screenshot of a TikTok video posted by @sandiegoville of a woman verbally and physically assaulting a restaurant employee

Source: @sandiegoville/Instagram

She was using extremely aggressive language, including profanities and screaming, while she leaned across the counter, entering the employee’s personal space. 

The Argument Turned into Assault

Then, after several seconds, the customer physically reached over to grab the receipt out of the customer’s hands. 

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Screenshot of a TikTok video posted by @sandiegoville of a woman verbally and physically assaulting a restaurant employee

Source: @sandiegoville/Instagram

The interaction became quite violent as the two fought over the piece of paper. The employee attempted to push the customer’s hands away while she swatted and grabbed at the receipt she was holding. 

The Fight Only Lasted a Moment

As soon as the customer realized she could not get the receipt, she backed up but continued to yell obscenities at the employee. 

Screenshot of a TikTok video posted by @sandiegoville of a woman verbally and physically assaulting a restaurant employee

Source: @sandiegoville/Instagram

Fortunately for both parties, it ended there, and no one was physically hurt from the altercation.

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The Customer Left, But the Story Continued

The video clip shows the customer walking out the door while continuing to scream at the employee, but that is nowhere near the end of the story. 

Screenshot of a TikTok video posted by @sandiegoville of a woman verbally and physically assaulting a restaurant employee

Source: @sandiegoville/Instagram

TikTok user @brendapena783 posted the video, and the world, including several local and national news outlets, responded immediately by sharing the story.

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Most People Decided the Customer Was a “Karen”

In recent years, society has created a nickname for people, specifically women, who are unkind to service workers. They are called “Karens,” which is now essentially synonymous with someone who yells at employees for trying to do their jobs.

Screenshot of a TikTok video posted by @sandiegoville of a woman verbally and physically assaulting a restaurant employee

Source: @sandiegoville/Instagram

Of course, assault is never okay, but there were interesting developments in this particular “Karen” story that led to online debates as to whether or not she was completely or just somewhat wrong in her reaction. 

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Why Didn’t She Just Give the Customer the Receipt?

A large percentage of comments on the internet are asking one simple question: Why didn’t the employee just give her the receipt?

Screenshot of a TikTok video posted by @sandiegoville of a woman verbally and physically assaulting a restaurant employee

Source: @sandiegoville/Instagram

Whether or not it was technically the restaurant’s copy, it could certainly have been reprinted, and the entire situation could have been defused in seconds. 

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What the Lucha Libre Employee Had to Say

The employee posted just a few days later explaining her side of things. She said, “That’s not even her receipt, that’s the ticket order we received in our printer … I didn’t want [give it] back to her because she was just yelling at me cussing me.”

Hand holding a taco in front of Lucha Libre Taco Shop

Source: @luchalibretacoshop/Instagram

But the customer’s husband had a much different response to the situation. 

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The Customer’s Husband Explained Things Much Differently

The day of the incident, a user on Yelp who was later identified as the customer’s husband left his wife’s side of the story on the site.

Screenshot of a Yelp review by user Jason B.

Source: Yelp

He said, “One of their workers overcharged my wife and used her credit card to make purchases. When she asked for the receipt, the worker refused and started taunting her.” 

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The Truth Behind This Tale Is Still a Mystery

Lucha Libre has not commented on the allegations that one of their employees stole a customer’s credit card information. Though there have been follow up comments from previous customers stating they were also overcharged. 

Screenshot of a comment by @sandiegoville on Instagram and other user responses

Source: @sandiegoville/Instagram

It also came to light once the customer had been identified that her brother passed away earlier this week. And while some people certainly have a new found sympathy for the “Taco Shop Karen,” others argue that no matter what the situation, there is no excuse for physical violence. 

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