A woman called 911 after she was not allowed in a pet-food store in Palm Springs, California, because she refused to wear a mask on October 4. A county-wide mandate requiring that masks be worn in public was in effect.
Aidan Bearpaw, an employee at Bones-N-Scones pet-food store, recorded this footage and posted it to Facebook. The footage captures the woman threatening to call 911, stating she has a medical exemption to the mandate. She later says she has a religious exemption.
During the exchange, the woman can be heard telling Bearpaw that he is discriminating against her, saying, “I cannot be discriminated against. I do have the right to breathe O2, not CO2.”
Bearpaw tells her he can provide her “reasonable accommodation,” and insists he is just doing his job. He can be heard saying he will get in trouble if he lets her in without a mask.
The woman calls 911, and the dispatcher tells her about the mask mandate. The dispatcher offers to send a police officer to the location. However, the woman rescinds her request for an officer as the store is about to close.
Bearpaw told Storyful that the 911 dispatcher “supported my decision not to let her in, at which point she left.”
He told Storyful the police showed up to his job the following day after his Facebook post went viral.
“She was feeling the public backlash and dispatched police on me again,” he said. “My bosses were initially furious. It was very possible I was going to be fired. My coworkers were all very supportive and made it clear there would be consequences if I was terminated,” Bearpaw said.
Local news station KESQ interviewed the consulting general manager for Bones-N-Scones, who told them, “Standing your ground overcomes all of those things. Aidan won for us that day. He didn’t just win for Bones-N-Scones. He won for the city of Palm Springs, United States, and for humanity in general.”
Storyful reached out to the woman in the footage for comment, but did not receive a response at the time of writing. Credit: Aidan Bearpaw via Storyful