Kitchener-Waterloo

Cambridge woman charged with assault for coughing on elderly person in Starbucks drive-thru: WRPS

Waterloo regional police said a woman has been charged after leaning inside a vehicle and coughing on an elderly person as well as the vehicle's door handles while waiting in line at a Starbucks drive-thru.
A Cambridge woman has been charged following an incident at a Starbucks drive-thru where a person was coughed on, police say. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

A 42-year-old Cambridge woman has been charged after allegedly coughing on an elderly person while in a Starbucks drive-thru.

The altercation happened back on March 20 at a Starbucks on Hespeler Road, Waterloo regional police said in a release Sunday.

The two drivers began arguing, said police, and one one driver got out of her vehicle and approached the second vehicle.

"During the altercation, a female stuck her head inside the driver's side window and allegedly coughed in the elderly victim's face. The female also coughed on the vehicle's door handles," the Waterloo Regional Police Service said in the release.

The woman has now been charged with assault and common nuisance — endanger life.

The case is one of a string of similar instances in the area:

  • Waterloo regional police are searching for a man who allegedly tried to spit on a Tim Hortons employee on April 4.
  • A St. Thomas man was charged after a cashier in a Guelph Zehrs was spat on. 
  • Police in Stratford are searching for a man who allegedly coughed directly at an LCBO employee.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union in Ontario told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo incidents like this against grocery store employees have "ramped up significantly" since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Tim Deelstra, a union spokesperson with locals 175 and 633 said he's heard about people who touch, spit on and act aggressively toward workers.

Police have told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo the uptick in reports could be because the health risks of COVID-19 make victims more likely to report to police.  

Given the seriousness of the pandemic, police said they too are taking the incidents very seriously.

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