By CBSNewYork Team

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens woman had a racist meltdown over a mask request at a bakery on the Lower East Side.

Now we’re hearing from the man who took the brunt of her anger.

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As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reports, the worker, named Vic, is the kind of guy every mother hopes their son grows up to be: So confident in his own skin that even when being screamed at with racial slurs he kept his cool and responded with kindness.

A woman’s racist rant at Essex Market on the Lower East Side was caught on camera on March 21, 2021. (Credit: Instagram user reallycutekid)

The video is difficult to watch. Queens mother Stephanie Denaro refuses to wear a mask at Davidovich Bakery inside Essex Market on Sunday. Her young children were standing by as she accosts the cashier, yelling racial insults.

“What she said was really horrible. She’s saying really laced racial slurs in front of four biracial children who were just kind of frozen,” said witness Jack Weil.

“What’s going through your head when she starts screaming obscenities at you?” Moore asked Vic.

“I couldn’t believe it at first. We’ve been living in this environment where we’ve been wearing masks for a year plus,” he said.

Vic is the 30-year-old cashier targeted by Denaro’s rant. He called the attack disappointing and frustrating, especially since he was simply enforcing the Essex Market policy requiring customers to wear masks inside.

“A lot of people are praising you for having such incredible grace under pressure. What gave you the strength to be so calm? ” Moore asked.

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“Honestly, I feel like we’ve been going through this, you know, racism, we went through COVID all year last year, we went through George Floyd. We went through all types of situations,” he said. “I felt like we were moving forward, honestly, that’s where I’m at. I thought we were moving forward. I’m educated enough and smart enough, and I think we’re in a world where… love surpasses hatred. Seeing her kids right next to her I couldn’t say anything to her.”

Denaro refused to explain herself on camera, but told Moore on the phone that her kids have a Black father who uses the N-word “colloquially.” She maintains masks infringe on her constitutional rights.

“People all over the country have reached out, saying we would’ve understood if your employee had reacted differently. And it’s just a credit to him and his behavior and his professionalism,” said Marc Fintz, vice president of Davidovich Bakery.

As for Vic, he hopes Denaro can learn from the growing backlash against her behavior.

“If you could talk to her now, what would you say?” Moore asked.

“Don’t do it for me, or anyone else, for any Black man. Do it for your kids,” Vic said.

“Do what for your kids?” Moore asked.

“Treat everybody genuinely, especially in front of your kids,” he said.

Davidovich Bakery issued the followign statement:

We are a family-run company and all of our employees whether they have been with us for a day or years, when you attack one member of our family, you attack all of our family. The retail workers have all been on the front line during the pandemic. They try to put a smile on their face. Nothing justifies someone being attacked and insulted and treated the way he was treated.

We don’t make mask mandates, we follow the law. The law says we have to follow the rules and we hope our customers understand that they are free to frequent other businesses if they don’t like it. No one should be subjected to racial and harassing slurs like that. People have reached out from all over the country to commend him on handling it with dignity and grace. He’s just trying to earn a paycheck and navigate these crazy times.

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Denaro also told Moore there is a fake apology circulating online from someone pretending to be her. She says she did not write the apology and is not sorry.

CBSNewYork Team