Mellow Mushroom workers shocked at attack on fellow employee

Published: Apr. 18, 2012 at 3:53 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2012 at 3:54 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Beyond the specialty pizzas and drafts at the Mellow Mushroom, is an employee whose been there almost as long as the restaurant has been standing in the Vista.

"He's the hardest working employee here. He's here early, he works late. He picks up extra shifts. He's an amazing worker," Kimby Yarborough, manager of the restaurant said. "I wish I could have a thousand of him."

He washes dishes, stock supplies, and buses tables. He has some mental and physical disabilities, but has never let them get in the way.

"He's slightly handicapped," Yarborough said. "He even just has one hand, but he works harder that most people who have two. He's just a great worker."

Not a negative word has been spoken about the employee who staff members say was mugged on North Main Street on his way home from work late Sunday night.

"He got pushed off his bike, beat up by four people and they took everything he had on him except for his bike," bartender Miranda Harker said.

"Anyone that would hurt him is just -- it's unbelievable to me that people would do that," waitress Parker Chappell said.

He normally rides his bicycle to and from work and just carries a backpack.

"In his backpack, he has one of those old school Walkman CD players. You know, he doesn't have much. He doesn't look like someone who'd be targeted," Harker said.

The victim, who does not want to be identified, says he went to the hospital that night. When he was released, he went to the back door of Mellow Mushroom, sat on a plastic container used to hold dirty towels, and waited for a manager.

"He literally came straight into work in the morning just to tell my manager that he couldn't make it in to work that day," Yarborough said.

"Honestly, I cried," Harker said. "I couldn't believe someone would do that."

Staff members, past and present, are collecting money to pay for his medical bills and replace what he lost.

"It really hit us all hard because he means a lot to all of us," Yarborough said. "He's a very big part of who we are."

We're told the victim suffered some broken ribs and teeth. According to staff members, he has already called to see when he's back on the schedule.

At this point, we don't know if there were any witnesses or if there are any suspects. We'll continue to follow this story and bring you any updates.

If you want to help out, viewers can stop by the Mellow Mushroom with donations or they can e-mail the general manager at mellowgm@msn or call Brian at (803) 467-4345. All donations will be going to the employee's medical bills or charity.

Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.