Two people trying to flee a Redondo Beach restaurant without paying their bill struck a manager with their car — and it was all captured on video.
The incident happened Monday afternoon at Ragin Cajun Cafe on Pacific Coast Highway.
Lisa Hodges, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Steve, said the pair sat at an outdoor table and racked up $90 worth of food before asking for some to-go containers and their bill.
But the duo — described as a man and woman in their early to mid-20s — left the table without paying, and were already in their car and starting to drive away by the time the manager noticed.
The manager, who was not identified, jumped over a hay-bale barrier and stood in front of the car while asking the pair to pay their bill. Hodges said he was not touching the car or being confrontational.
“They could have reversed. They could have moved around him, but they didn’t,” she said. “They chose to hit the gas and hit him — and they hit him hard.”
Security camera footage shows a red sedan accelerating and striking the manager. Hodges said the man was carried about 30 feet on the hood of the car, and fell off only when the driver made a sharp turn as he maneuvered to get on Pacific Coast Highway.
The manager “was very shaken up,” Hodges said. He suffered bruises around his knees, and his ankle and wrist were very sore, but “thankfully he didn’t hit his head.”
He rested at home for a couple of days before returning to work Wednesday.
Hodges said “dining and dashing” is unfortunately common, including instances of people using fraudulent credit cards.
But Monday’s violent incident came on the heels of a particularly challenging stretch for the restaurant industry, which saw some patrons tipping less or becoming aggravated by COVID-19 guidelines, she said. The manager has remained among the small, family-run restaurant’s key employees “throughout all the craziness.”
“This is just one of many, many things you deal with in the restaurant industry,” Hodges said. But she was grateful for an outpouring of phone calls and support from the community.
“You’ve just got to keep moving forward. You just have to stay positive,” she said.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Redondo Beach Police Department at (310) 379-2477.