A Subway sandwich shop worker in Illinois courageously fought and chased away an armed robber, only to be allegedly handed a suspension by the outlet’s administration after leaked footage of the incident went viral on social media.
Araceli Sotelo, who worked at a Subway outlet in Rockford, Illinois, was seen disarming and hitting the robber with his own gun, in a video from 5 September which went viral on social media, earning her the praise of hundreds of users.
Ms Sotelo, who was alone at the store at that time, was badly beaten by the robber first. As the scuffle went on, however, she snatched the masked robber’s pistol and thrashed him repeatedly.
“He kind of just showed me his gun, and I was like freaking out,” she told local news channel WTVO. “[He said] ‘give me all the money… give me everything before I hurt you.
“He was smaller than me, so I have that advantage… I could at least put my weight on him, push him, or something,” Ms Sotelo told the channel.
When the leaked footage of the attack went viral, Ms Sotelo reposted it on TikTok. Soon after, however, she posted an update saying she was suspended from her job following the incident.
She claimed the store administration wanted her to remove traces of all the videos of the incident that were posted online and that her suspension would remain as long as the videos were there.
“I get a call yesterday it was like, ‘if every one of these videos are not taken offline you will be suspended,’ and then I texted them and I’m like ‘how long am I suspended for?’ They said till everything is removed online. I have no ability to do that,” Ms Sotelo told WTVO.
She denied any role in the leaking of the footage and told the local news outlet that the store wanted to keep the incident private.
“They did not want anyone to know, they wanted to be private that it happened to me and that I fought back, but I think they did that because they do not want corporate to know,” Ms Sotelo said.
The branch or the company has not issued an official response on why they suspended Ms Sotelo. WTVO said the owner of the branch refused repeated requests for comment.
However, in a statement to the New York Post, a Subway representative refused to address the suspension and said: “We are in contact with the franchisee to better understand the situation and assist as needed.”