A brave 19-year-old fast food worker from the Bay Area lost her eye after she tried to stop a man from bullying a special needs boy.
Bianca Palomera was working at Habit Burger Grill in Antioch, California on Nov. 12 when she noticed four men harassing a special needs boy — the brother of one of her coworkers who was waiting until their shift ended, KNTV reported.
She claimed she decided to intervene and approached one of the men and told him to stop.
“He was throwing threats and slurs saying that he was going to ‘beat him up,’ ‘why does he keep looking his way?’ That’s when I step in and I said, ‘It’s not right what you’re doing,’” Palomera told the outlet.
The man, with his attention now turned to Palomera, punched her in the face, surveillance footage of the attack shared by her sister shows.
A brawl ensued with multiple customers getting involved. Palomera managed to free herself from the man, who then fled the store with the three others he arrived with and sped off in a silver BMW, according to KNTV. Her sister said they appeared to be between 16 and 21 years old.
“He punched me once, and my headset and my glasses went flying off my face,” Palomera said.
The attack landed Palomera in the hospital where she learned that she would lose her right eye.
“As a result of the attack she was rushed to a nearby trauma center where she underwent emergency surgery,” Bianca’s sister, Erika, wrote in a Facebook post. “Unfortunately, she sustained irreversible injuries that cost her losing her right eye completely.”
The family has launched a GoFundMe to help cover her medical costs. As of early Sunday morning, nearly $100,000 has been donated.
The Antioch Police Department said that it is investigating the incident but no arrests have been made.
Meanwhile, Palomera has been slowly recovering at home. She said she does not regret confronting the bully.
“This is the last thing I would have expected out of anything,” she said. “I don’t fully regret helping, stepping in. It could have been worse for my co-worker’s brother.”
Habit Burger told KNTV in a statement that the they are, “fully assisting the authorities in their efforts to identify the suspected attackers.”