McDonald's employee fights back after Florida man attacks her over plastic straw

A plastic straw ban in St. Petersburg, meant to increase sustainability, apparently caused a patron to attack a McDonald's employee.

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By Ben Kesslen

A viral video shows that a McDonald's worker fought back against an enraged customer who attacked her over a plastic straw.

The man, who the St. Petersburg Florida Police Department identified as Daniel Taylor, attacked employee Yasmine James on Monday, grabbing her shirt and trying to pull her over the register.

Brenda Biandudi, the mother of the man who posted the video, which has amassed more than 3.5 million views, told NBC affiliate WFLA that the fight began when Taylor complained there were no straws at the store’s drink station.

According to Biandudi, James explained that a new law mandated that the store remove straws from the lobby, but that straws still could be requested. This was a result of a St. Petersburg ordinance passed last month that mandated “plastic straws can be given only upon customer request”— an effort to increase the city’s sustainability.

When Taylor, 40, initiated his attack, James, a former boxer, defended herself. According to police, James, 20, punched Taylor in the face as he held the collar of her uniform. Other employees simultaneously worked to stop Taylor's attack.

Police say after being separated from James, Taylor also kicked McDonald's employee Tateona Bell, 23, before exiting the restaurant.

Police were able to apprehend Taylor when they received a call about an unarmed robbery after the McDonald's incident and recognized Taylor from the video. Now, Taylor faces two charges of simple battery.