An employee of the Adventure Hotel in Nelson suffered a serious heart attack on Nov. 20 after a customer spit in her face when she confronted him about his refusal to wear a mask.
The incident occurred at Empire Coffee, which is owned by the hotel.
“He was politely asked by the staff to put a mask on,” said hotel general manager Rob Little. “He was very agitated and started shouting profanities about how they were sheep and shouldn’t be following the rules.”
The manager of the coffee shop called Little’s office. He was not available so an accountant responded and went to help the coffee shop staff.
When she told the man he would not be served, he spit in her face and left. In the meantime, the police had been called.
About 20 minutes after the incident, after discussions with the police, the accountant came into Little’s office and collapsed.
“She was having a massive heart attack,” Little said.
She was sent to hospital in Kelowna in serious condition, and is now recovering at home in Nelson.
The man was known to police, according to Sgt. Brian Weber of the Nelson Police Department in a Nov. 25 email. He was arrested and is expected to be charged with assault.
“The Nelson Police Department will conduct further investigation to determine if there is a nexus between the health crisis and the alleged assault,” Weber wrote.
He told the Nelson Star this week that the matter has been referred to Crown Counsel with no word yet on whether charges will be laid.
Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact the Nelson Police Department at 250-354-3919.