Mellow Mushroom manager resigns after incident with panhandler

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RICHMOND, Va. – A Carytown merchant first apologized after a video went viral that captured an interaction between their store manager and a panhandler during a hail storm, and then later announced the manager resigned.

Mellow Mushroom pizza issued an apology Sunday, in response to a video filmed by Kelly Wood, which she said showed an argument taking place over two customers buying a sandwich for a panhandler.

The local franchise owner of the nationwide chain, Scott Douglas, said in the statement that the manager “displayed poor judgment” regarding a panhandler. On Monday, Douglas said he spoke with the manager and she resigned.

Wood said that two women purchased a sandwich for the man, and were told by the manager that they did not want people to buy him food. Wood also said that the manager, shown talking to the homeless man, said she had called the police on him.

The two women who purchased the sandwich went outside to join the conversation – all seeking shelter under the awning as hail and rain pummeled the area.

Douglas said that “we all make mistakes at times, and she certainly did in this case.”

He said that the manager has worked with them almost four years, without issue.

Though people posted online that they planned to boycott the business, the owner emphasized that the manager’s actions “aren’t reflective of our philosophy of treating all people with respect.”

“In general, people will tell you we are a very generous and community minded establishment,” Douglas said.

Multiple business owners on the same block of Carytown tell CBS 6 they have had problems with panhandlers being aggressive or verbally threatening to people in the past.  Multiple workers in Carytown who know the Mellow Mushroom manager involved said she was "a good person" and that they were surprised to hear she was involved.

Douglas said that they have no problem with people panhandling, but did say that in the past they have had problems with intoxicated people out front of the store. However, Douglas emphasized that he had no evidence that a similar situation played out Saturday.

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