'Horrific': Face mask dispute ends with woman coughing on customer

A woman has been filmed appearing to intentionally cough on another customer at a cafe.

A video of the interaction was shared to social media by the woman who was coughed on by another female customer at New York City Bagel Coffee House.

“Words truly cannot express my disappointment in humanity these days,” Ally Goodbaum wrote on Facebook along with a video filmed by a third party.

“I know there are bigger problems in the nation right now, but more and more it seems the people who are just trying to stand up for the right things are getting bulldozed by bullies.”

Pictured left is a woman coughing on another customer at New York City Bagel Coffee House. On the right is a still of the woman responsible.
A woman has been filmed coughing on another customer while getting a bagel in New York. Source: Storyful

In the footage, Ms Goodbaum and another woman are heard arguing with one another.

Ms Goodbaum explained in her Facebook post she was at the Broadway and 30th Street store getting a bagel when she noticed another patron not covering her mouth while coughing or wearing a face mask.

Ms Goodbaum said she politely pointed this out to a worker at the store and she was overheard by the patron who “became enraged yelling at me, calling me names, claiming she has COVID antibodies and doesn’t need to wear a mask in public so I should mind my own f’ing business”.

In the video shared to Facebook, the woman is heard telling Ms Goodbaum to “say it” to her face and calling her a “p***y”.

As seen in the video, the patron then advances on Ms Goodbaum and starts coughing on her repeatedly.

"She got very, very close and I could feel her breath on my face," Ms Goodbaum told US news outlet PIX11.

The patron has been dubbed a “Karen”, a slang term used to describe a middle-aged white woman perceived to be entitled, by the internet.

She was later identified by multiple US news outlets as Lauren Balsamo, a former employee of Weill Cornell Medicine.

Weill Cornell Medicine was tagged in the video when it was shared to Twitter and Weill Cornell Medicine said Ms Balsamo had not been an employee since January 2020.

“As an institution on the COVID-19 frontlines, this behaviour is shocking [and] abhorrent to us,” Weill Cornell Medicine tweeted and shared on Instagram.

“Since WCM's mission is to protect the health [and] wellbeing of all NYers, we condemn this flagrant disregard of public safety.”

Ms Goodbaum said she would not be returning to New York City Bagel Coffee House, adding Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company “has way better bagels and kinder staff”.

On Facebook, New York City Bagel Coffee House addressed the ordeal, condemning the actions of Ms Balsamo.

“The behaviour of the woman is unacceptable in our establishment,” the post on social media says.

“Customers and employees MUST wear a face mask in all our stores. This has been policy since the VERY BEGINNING.”

The establishment claims the staff working at the time were “caught off guard” and most of the staff, including the cashier were high school students who were “frightened” by the coughing woman’s behaviour.

New York City Bagel Coffee House has instructed their staff to not serve anyone without a face mask, they said in their post, and to call the authorities if patrons have any issues with wearing a mask.

“No customer should be treated like this, especially during these difficult times where we should all stick together to get through this,” the statement said.

New York City Bagel Coffee House also added the staff had never seen Ms Balsamo before and authorities were called following the incident, however “no one came to the scene”.

Ms Balsamo is now banned from all New York City Bagel Coffee House locations.

New York has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

In New York City alone, there have been 209,878 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 22,100 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data.

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