The Most Karen Moment Ever Caught On Tape At A McDonald's Drive-Thru Window

The term "Karen" seems to be one of the rare instances where the slang is just as identifiable in the real world as it is on the internet. Most people know what it means when you call someone a Karen, but if you need a little refresher:

"'Karen' has, in recent years, become a widespread meme referencing a specific type of middle-class white woman, who exhibits behaviors that stem from privilege," the BBC politely explains. Karens love to speak to the manager. They also may be against COVID-19 vaccinations, display racist microaggressions, and show little respect for individuals who work in the service industry, among other actions.

Whether you can spot a Karen from a mile away or you're still looking for an example of the exact type of person who embodies the Karen spirit — lucky you! — footage posted on TikTok this past July shows one of the most Karen moments ever, taking place in none other than a McDonald's drive-thru.

A woman threw an ice tea dispenser at employees

The TikTok video, posted by user @camanese, shows a woman screaming at McDonald's employees from outside the drive-thru window. Although the video is taken from inside the store, it appears the woman had exited her vehicle and was standing in front of the window.

"I wouldn't have expected this at this specific McDonald's," the caption read, followed by a series of hashtags including #Karen and #karenoutofcontrol.

The video starts with the woman throwing what appear to be sauce packets at the employees while she inaudibly screams (the video was edited to primarily feature music) and jabs her finger through the window. Then, in a moment of pure chaos, the woman grabs the ice tea dispenser from inside the store and hurls it toward the workers inside. When her throw doesn't get very far, she grabs the trash can and picks out napkins and other garbage and starts throwing that, too.

The employees display noticeable maturity and don't engage with her. They appear to walk away as soon as she hurls the first packs of sauce.

People don't know how the incident started

The original poster of the TikTok video wrote in the comments that they weren't sure exactly what started the confrontation. "I wasn't looking at the window so I'm not sure what was happening," the user shared, "Just heard yelling and moved and started recording."

Some viewers in the comments chose to make light of the situation, offering jokes about what could have worked the customer up so much. "Because she didn't want to pay 25 cents for barbecue sauce," one wrote. "She really wanted to spill the tea I guess," another viewer commented. "Ice cream machine must've been broken," someone else offered.

@camanese did post in the comments that the police came to speak with the woman and captured her license plate numbers. And if the footage wasn't used as part of a police report, it may very well be used in the future to show anyone who wonders what a "Karen" is.

Outraged customers are all too common at fast food restaurants

A majority of viewers of the viral TikTok video posted by @camanese were amazed an adult would act like this. Many shared sympathy for the struggles fast food and customer service workers often face. "I feel so bad for food workers who have to deal with stuff like that," one TikTok user shared. The viral video got attention outside the app, too. The Daily Dot gave its coverage the headline, "Why literally no one wants to work in the food industry anymore."

Workers and innocent-bystander customers get abused all too often at fast food restaurants. An altercation at a Burger King drive-thru started after a white couple made an illegal U-turn to get to the front of the drive-thru line only to discover that a Black driver had gotten there first. This prompted the white couple to stand in front of the Black driver's vehicle and hold up the entire line while calling police, per a separate Daily Dot article. In another disturbing incident, a homeless man inside a McDonald's restaurant reached over the counter to attack an employee because there were no straws in the lobby (via CNN). 

It's no wonder fast food chains are having such a hard time hiring (via Marketplace). The job is already low-paying and high-pressure. Over the past year and a half, we can add the risk of catching COVID-19 from customers who refuse to wear masks. If outraged customers are going to continue to throw tea dispensers — not to mention hands — at employees, a modest pay raise or a signing bonus won't be enough to attract new hires.