A “Karen” in Palm Springs, California went viral in late December 2021, after a store employee uploaded a TikTok of her extreme efforts to enter a pet store. Footage uploaded by Aidan Bearpaw shows the woman calling 911 after being refused entry, only to remain red-faced after the dispatcher sided with Aidan in the argument. Her rant ended when she left the store without buying anything, with the images racking up millions of views on the app.
As we’ve extensively covered, “Karens” have become a big thing in stores across the United States. In February, a woman was caught on CCTV at a Colorado supermarket slapping a store employee after being asked to mask up. Then in March, a woman was tackled at a Bath and Body Works store in Arizona after creating a ruckus and even calling another shopper the n-word. In July, Abigail Elphick was dubbed “Victoria’s Secret Karen” because of her viral meltdown at a New Jersey store.
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Most of the incidents are due to women staunchly refusing to mask up, even though it is perfectly legal for companies to issue mask mandates in most states, whether the state has one or not. It seems that this particular Karen in Palm Springs was unaware of this, leading to her being schooled by Aidan and the 911 dispatcher.
A woman claims the “right to breathe O2 and not CO2”
The incident took place at a Bones and Scones store in Palm Springs when the woman identified herself as Laura Karowsky was stopped by Aidan outside the store for not having a mask. “I’m not wearing a mask because I can’t. I’m going to have a panic attack. I’m going to panic. I’m going to have an anxiety attack,” she said at first, before telling him “You can either accommodate me by giving me an hour at the end of each day or an hour at the start of the day.”
However, Aiden was in no mood to comply with her demands and told her to call 911 if she refused to wear the disposable mask he offered. She then calls 911 and tells the dispatcher, “Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, I have the right to be able to breathe O2, not CO2, and am currently being discriminated against in a store” . Then Laura says she has a religious exemption and a “God-given right” to be able to breathe.
When Aidan then injects, “I thought it was a medical exemption,” Laura adds, “Uh-huh, yeah, a medical exemption too.” In two subsequent TikToks, Aiden shows how the caller stood firmly against Laura. She tells the dispatcher that she “doesn’t seem to understand that at the end of the day, I’m actually the one with the right”. The operator repeatedly tried to explain that Aiden was authorized to refuse her service, but Laura staunchly refused to believe her.
The encounter ends with Laura giving up and leaving the store, as Aiden says, “God bless you, you are such a wonderful human being.” The viral exchange racked up millions of views, as users piled on Laura for her behavior. “911 is not customer service,” snapped one user, while another commented, “She seems so authoritative.” Another asked, “Who do you think 911 dispatchers are for, playground mediators?” Others seemed delighted that Laura was spelling out her name and number on the video, with many wondering how many calls she was about to receive.