A bartender on the Drive-in Wilton Manors had an unpleasant encounter with a local Fort Lauderdale restaurant owner two weeks ago, and it has been going viral on social media, generating a series of stinging online posts.
It may lead to a charge of simple battery, but sources suggest that the parties are on the verge of reaching a settlement.
The controversial incident involved Pub barista Shane Cullinan, who posted on Facebook an incident where he had been accosted and spat upon by Gary Bouvier, the owner of Wilton Wings in Fort Lauderdale. Bouvier was apparently intoxicated at the time.
Having recently lost a friend to the coronavirus, Deputy Shannon Bennet of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Cullinan was concerned about Bouvier's conduct, and his own fate.
Cullinan posted on Facebook a detailed account of his unfriendly encounter with Bouvier. He claimed Bouvier entered the Pub, first demanding to use a restroom, walking directly behind the bar looking for one, derisively shouting, “Do you know who I am, Do you know who I am?”
According to Cullinan, the altercation escalated to the point where Bouvier, forced his way past the bar, then left the premises. However, he was accused of returning and shouting at Cullinan again, eventually spitting in the bartender's face.
Cullinan promptly filed a police report in Wilton Manors about the incident. Assistant Police Chief Gary Blocker acknowledged online the matter was being investigated by the department as a possible misdemeanor battery.
“The unlawful touching of another can constitute a criminal act,” Blocker noted.
Bouvier went online a few days later, apologizing for his misbehavior. Owning up to his conduct, he stated that it was “out of character,” admitting it was a result of “having too much to drink.”
Later, Bouvier added that he had gone for a COVID-19 test since the episode, which came back negative.
“This one incident does not define who I am. I am embarrassed and sorry for what occurred,” Bouvier wrote. “I made a mistake. It’s up to me to try to right it.”
One of the things Bouvier promised he will do is host a free “wings” giveaway next month for service industry members unemployed and in need due to the pandemic.
The story generated a life of its own, however, going viral on a host of local social media platforms, and a piece on WSVN, channel 7. Someone even created a page urging consumers to boycott Wilton Wings.
Meanwhile, according to sources, Bouvier and Cullinan are quietly working to reach a private resolution, and each have each retained their own counsel. Neither are talking to the press at this time.