BOISE, Idaho — Editor's note: Big Jud's shared a Facebook post on Wednesday stating that the establishment will be closed until July 27. The announcement came after a Big Jud's employee tested positive for COVID-19.
Businesses and employees across the city continue to report being harassed for trying to comply with the city of Boise mask mandate. Some businesses are even offering masks to those that do not have one.
Big Jud’s in Boise is one of the local establishments giving out masks to encourage customers to protect each other. However, some customers are less than friendly when approached with a mask.
Alesis Jones, a 19-year-old shift manager, was working a usual shift when a family came in without masks. After trying to offer the family a set of disposable masks, a vulgar message was left behind for the staff member trying to do her job.
“I was surprised and shocked that a grown man would act so childish,” Jones said.
Jones says she found the mask after waiting on a group of seven at Big Jud’s in Boise. Jones did not try to force the mask on anyone in the party, she simply let them know their policy.
“If you would like to wear a mask, we have masks to give. If not, then that’s your choice,” Jones said.
The 19-year-old was quickly met with a sharp response.
“This is about our stupid, liberal mayor’s rules,” Jones said, quoting the customer. “At that point, I kind of knew I was in for a ride.”
Jones says she held nothing against the group and worked hard to meet their needs like she would for any guest. Everything seemed normal until the group left.
For her service, she was rewarded with a $6 tip on a nearly $90 ticket.
“The table was a mess, there was food all over the ground,” Jones said. "That’s kind of hard because I felt like I worked hard for them."
In addition to the 7% tip, the group also left the mask she gave them as they came into Big Jud’s with the uncensored message “F**K Off.”
Chris Niederer, owner of Big Jud’s in Boise, says he was dumbfounded when he saw the mask.
“This written in crayon by a father of considerable age, “f*** off.” Classy move bro, classy move,” Niederer said. “The fact that he did that is uncalled for, unnecessary and not really forgivable.”
This mask may be the most dramatic example, but other customers have also given the staff at Big Jud's a hard time about following the city of Boise’s mask guidance.
“We had multiple tables that were belligerent. Not at that level, if he was a 10 we had a lot of 7.5 and 8’s,” Niederer said.
Niederer wanted to make it clear that he is in full support of his staff, so he took to Facebook to ensure that future guests know this type of behavior is not acceptable.
“This was calling an individual out and hopefully showing people that have these pent-up frustrations that this is not how to go about it,” Niederer said.
Quickly, the Facebook post got a lot of attention. In this case, however, it was good attention. Hundreds of people left comments sharing words of support for Jones and the team.
“It’s kind of overwhelming to be honest, to see that much support in just a couple hours,” Jones said.
The team at Big Jud’s understands people are dealing with a lot right now. With that in mind, they hope people take this story as a reminder to be kind to everyone.
“I think it goes over pretty well 100% of the time,” Niederer said.
Jones says she is keeping a positive attitude and hopes people will remember to just be nice to others.
“Even though you may think this mask might be stupid, it’s not about you. It’s about everyone as a community keeping each other safe,” Jones said. ”We are a community and we need to stick together and not divide.”
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