Service with a smile is overrated.
Thinking she was the butt of a joke, police said, Mercedes Hardaway took issue with some McDonald's employees laughing while she waited for her coffee Friday afternoon. She was so mad that she swung through the open window of her car in the drive-through, trying to hit the manager of the franchise on Walnut Avenue in Dalton, Ga.
According to an incident report, the problem began around 5:50 p.m., when Hardaway ordered two large coffees. A McDonald's employee told Hardaway that she needed to brew the coffee. She asked Hardaway to drive forward into a parking space so other customers could pick up their orders, then an employee would deliver the coffees to her.
Hardaway got mad and stayed in the drive-through, according to the report. An employee said she and her co-workers were joking about something inside the store, but Hardaway thought they were talking about her.
Then Hardaway yelled at them through the window, according to the police report.
The store's manager, Ernesto Almazan, asked Hardaway to leave. She couldn't have her coffee. He didn't want to serve her. He said he would refund the money she had paid for the drinks.
Almazan told an investigator that when he handed her a bill, Hardaway swiped at him, scratching his hand with her nail. He then tossed her change through the window.
Almazan said Hardaway yelled at him, "I want my money back and my coffee, you ——— Mexican."
He said Hardaway then tried to punch him, swinging through the open window of her Chevrolet Impala. Almazan said she then threatened to come inside and fight him, but she drove away instead.
Later, after talking to the McDonald's employees, a Whitfield County Sheriff's Office deputy looked up the license plate on Hardaway's car spotted in a security video. He figured out her address and showed up at her home. According to a report, Hardaway told the deputy she was certain that the McDonald's employees were making fun of her.
She said Almazan did not toss the change at her. She said he threw it at her. This made her even more angry.
"I did call him a Mexican and swung at him," she said, according to the report, "but I didn't hit him."
The sheriff's office charged Hardaway with simple assault and disorderly conduct. She left the Whitfield County Jail later Friday on a $1,500 bond.
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.