Somebody wasn’t feeling the friendly and kind Sesame Street spirit at Sesame Place last weekend.
Police said that an adult couple, angry that they were asked to wear a mask by a teenage employee of the Pennsylvania theme park, punched the teen in the face. He now needs surgery to repair his injured jaw and broken teeth.
"It's a shame you have a 17-year-old working hard and he's doing the right thing and reminding people about the mask policy and the governor's orders, and they did not receive it well,” Lt. Steve Forman, told NBC News. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has mandated that people in the state wear masks in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The park asks all patrons over the age of 2 to wear masks unless they are eating or drinking. Face coverings are not required in the park's water area either.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the 17-year-old employee encountered a man and woman — in their 20s to 30s — earlier in the day and informed them they needed to wear masks while visiting the park. About 5 p.m. the employee was working at Captain Cookie’s High C’s Adventure ride when they attacked the employee after he again explained to them that they needed to wear a mask.
“During the course of this confrontation, they escalated the incident, with both the female and male striking the 17-year-old male Sesame Place staff member in the face, knocking him to the ground,” Foreman told NBC News.
Surveillance footage shows that the couple was with a group of adults and children. Based on reservations and transactions, the police suspect they are from New York City.
An ambulance took the employee to a local hospital where he will undergo surgery for his jaw and have the broken teeth repaired.
“A full recovery is expected,” Foreman said. “It’s going to be an uncomfortable recovery.”
Sesame Place shared a statement with TODAY Parents:
“On Sunday, August 9, a guest assaulted and seriously injured one of our team members. We’ve been in close communication with the family of our injured team member, and are hoping for a full and speedy recovery. The health and safety of our guests and team members is our top priority, and violence of any kind is unacceptable and not tolerated at our park.”