Teenager who quit ice cream shop over rude customers gets more than $25K in donations

MASHPEE, Mass. — A Cape Cod ice cream shop is in the national spotlight after their owner says their first day back this season was marred by rude customers.

The owner of the Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour in Mashpee, Mark Lawrence, said: “F-bombs were flying like snowflakes."

The profanity, he said, was directed at a now-former 17-year-old employee, who is now getting thousands of dollars in donations for her future.

It all started Friday when Lawrence decided to reopen the shop, asking customers to order ahead for pick-up only. But once people saw that the business was open, he says it got out of hand.

“The wheels fell off the bus because we couldn’t produce that much product to get out the door in a timely enough fashion, so people started to get very agitated,” Lawrence told CNN on Monday. “We were only doing curbside pickup so you had to sit in your car in the parking lot. Some people would get out of their car and it was pretty much like, ‘Don’t tell me what do,’ and it was like, ‘No, get back in your car or [you can’t get] ice cream.'"

He explained that his youngest employee that day got the worst of it.

“It was like you left caged animals out after being in it for seven to eight weeks and they took it out on the easiest prey, they took it all out on this poor 17-year-old girl," said Lawrence. The girl politely quit after that Friday shift.

Just after the incident, Lawrence said he was ready to shut down the store again, but he decided to push forward and moved the order-ahead system online. He thinks the publicity has helped people be kinder. “Saturday was like a whole new ball game, it was wonderful,” Lawrence said.

The GoFundMe account for the former employee raised more than $25,000 by Tuesday morning.

She declined an interview, but Lawrence said she worked at the ice cream shop for three years and was planning to work another summer to earn money to start college in the fall.

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