"I was kind of fighting for my life," Kelsy Wallace tells PEOPLE. "I was really scared, calling out for my mama"

By Christine Pelisek
August 13, 2020 03:05 PM
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Kelsy Wallace
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A 17-year-old hostess at a Chili's restaurant was allegedly attacked on Sunday after she attempted to enforce the business’ COVID-19 social distancing policies.

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, the Baton Rouge Police department said the teen, Kelsy Wallace, was trying to figure out how to seat a large group when the alleged altercation occurred Sunday.

Wallace tells PEOPLE it began when she refused to seat the party of 13 women at the same table because of the restaurant’s policy to not seat more than six people together due to coronavirus. She says members of the large group began to aggressively confront her at that point.

“She pushed me and I pushed her back,” she says of one of the women in the group. “And they all attacked me. I was kind of fighting for my life. I was really scared, calling out for my mama.”

Wallace, a senior at Broadmoor Senior High School and Career Technical Education Center  who plans to be a doctor, says that she was taken the hospital after the encounter, where she received five stitches above her eye. She also sustained scratches and had a chunk of her hair ripped out, she says.

She doesn’t plan to return to her job.

“It really has taken an emotional toll on me; not just physically, but emotionally as well,” she says.

Chili's
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Summer Miller, the general manager at Chili’s, says the restaurant is working closely with the police.

“We are working closely with the Baton Rouge Police Department and trying to make sure they can locate these women and press charges,” she tells PEOPLE. “They definitely deserve to be in jail for what they did … We are very sorry that it happened. Violent behavior is obviously not tolerated from guests or team members in the building. It is very unfortunate that it took place.”

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Wallace’s aunt, Lorraine Williams, says her niece has been a victim of cyberbullying since the incident.

“She was very scared and embarrassed about what happened,” she says. “She is struggling. Her world turned upside down very quickly.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help defray the costs of Wallace's senior expenses and upcoming college expenses.

The Baton Rouge Police Department says the investigation remains ongoing.