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Politics and Government

Two Dunkin’ Donuts workers fired after 1 dumps ice water on homeless man in Syracuse

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Ellen Abbott
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WRVO Public Media
Dunkin' Donuts on Syracuse's north side.

A digital video of a Dunkin’ Donuts worker in Syracuse, dumping ice water onto a sleeping homeless man, has gone viral. It is prompting one homeless advocate to urge people to respect the individuals who call the streets their home.

Al-amin Muhammad, founder of We Rise Above the Streets Recovery, used to live on the streets.

"I slept under bridges, ate out of garbage cans, I had mental health issues, and I had a can of beer thrown at me,” Muhammad said.

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Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media
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WRVO Public Media
Al-amin Muhammad.

So he could relate to the chronically homeless young man, shocked by a pitcher of ice water dumped on his head by a Dunkin’ Donuts employee in the empty restaurant Sunday night.

"What really struck me after all that happened, I looked at the expression of the guy’s face after it happened to him," Muhammad said. "It was one of the lowest look that I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Muhammad had threatened a boycott of the north side franchise, but has backed off on that, instead hoping to make this a teaching moment.

“What I’m trying to do is show that everybody is a human being," Muhammad said. "Treat everyone with kindness. That’s number one. Number two is to try to reach out to the corporate office and to apply training. Training them how to approach people less fortunate, and how to handle it.”

Dunkin’ has fired the two workers involved in the incident according to a statement from the Wolak Group, which owns the franchise, and it promises to work with local advocates to make sure employees are better educated about dealing with homeless individuals.