PAWTUCKET, Rhode Island –
An unnamed 20-month-old was rushed to the hospital after taking a flying dinner plate to the face at a Rhode Island Applebee’s restaurant. According to witnesses, while busing a table, server Caitlin Jones, 22, was having a loud, heated argument with another server, she flung out her hand, throwing a plate down the aisle of customers. The dirty dish struck a young toddler, who was sitting in a booster seat at the end of a table, in the side of the face.
“It was horrible. I saw the plate come flying out of her hand like a Frisbee. It hit that poor baby, and there was this awful pause before she starting wailing,” said Shaniqua Jones, a patron who was seated in the next booth. “Poor little child, blood was running down her face and getting into her macaroni and cheese. The waitress looked horrified. She started crying and apologizing right away. I don’t think she meant to hit that baby, but it was her fault completely. The force she threw that plate with was like an Olympic discus champion. It was insane.”
Police were called, and Jones was arrested for criminal negligence and assault. She was released on $4,000 bail later that day. Jones insists it was ‘an accident,’ and that she didn’t mean to hurt anyone.
“It just slipped out of my hand, honest,” said Jones. “I didn’t chuck the plate at the baby. I was just mad at Denise because she has been talking s— about me behind my back at work, and we were arguing, and I just got so upset I whipped the plate, not even thinking.”
This isn’t the first time toddlers have been endangered at Applebee’s. In 2011, a mislabeled container caused a mix-up that led to a toddler being served alcohol instead of apple juice.
“Except for delicious family dining, no incidents have occurred at any Applebee’s establishment since the unfortunate booze/bottle mishap. At that time, we took additional measures to ensure the safety of our guests. Sadly, this type of horrible accident, regarding the baby being struck with a plate, is not something we could foresee,” said Johnathan Applebee, founder of Applebee’s restaurants. “We have started production on a training video, though, to educate our servers about the risks of negligent plate-throwing, and the dangers it can present. Unless guests want us to switch to paper plates, I think that’s the best can we do right now.”
The parents of the toddler say they do not blame, nor have any plans to sue the restaurant chain itself, but are possibly seeking damages from Jones for hospital bills for their baby. Regardless of pending civil action, they say they do plan to make sure that Jones is held responsible for her actions.
“That girl, she needs some serious help. Who throws a plate, honestly?” said the mother of the young child, who wishes to remain anonymous pending the possible civil action against Jones. “She’s very, very lucky that my daughter is going to be okay. She’s also very, very lucky I didn’t knock her out right there in the restaurant.”
“I am horribly sorry for what happened, and it isn’t the restaurant’s fault at all,” said Jones. “I know it was me. I maybe, sorta was drinking a lot the night before, and I was just in a bad mood. Frankly, life as a waitress is a living hell, you know? Trying to pretend to be happy all day when you’re serving microwaved steak that tastes a little too much like ass sweat? Ugh, it’s a real chore being me, you don’t even know.”
Applebee’s restaurants deny all culpability for the incident, and immediately fired Jones. The chain still hopes to “See You Tomorrow.”