Family of Louisiana Arby's manager found dead in a freezer reveal how she beat on the door until her hands were bloody: "the latch on the cooler was not working properly since August, and the problem was known and ignored by management"

When I worked in fast food it was company policy that no one open or close (be in) a store alone. So sad.


When I worked in fast food it was company policy that no one open or close (be in) a store alone. So sad.


I had a reach in freezer fall on me closing one night. I was stuck underneath it for about twenty minutes before the closing cook came back because he forgot something. That was going to be a long fucking night without Mike constantly forgetting shit.


Mike works in mysterious ways.




Thank goodness Mike always forgot something


Fast forward to the present day and I have multiple teenage students (I'm a HS teacher) who tell me how they are working past 10 PM on school nights and/or sometimes solo closing the retail/fast food places they work. It's like we're regressing. Edit: notifications turned off. Like 15 people have already responded with some one sentence variation of "we are regressing". Idk why some of y'all feel the need to be the 16th.


Most companies still have that "policy" and it's the same as it was for me 15 years ago. The official policy is that nobody closes alone, but inevitably the hours allotted are going to leave a shortage on at least one shift putting management/shift lead in a unusual spot where they either go over hours, a guaranteed way to get in trouble, or they close the store alone, where they only get in trouble IF something goes wrong. That doesn't count times where the closer whose supposed to be with them doesn't come in and nobody else is willing to stay over to cover.


I worked at a McDonald's in high school and was a supervisor my last year. So many times the schedule would have 2 people to close, and one of them not be there. And it always left me in a situation of I stay and go into OT and get written up for non approved OT. And fired if I got more than 3 Or I leave the one person, and if something happens get fired for not ensuring a second person was there


I would always close the store in those situations and dare them to fire me. Sorry we are closed at 8 now due to lack of staffing became a running theme


They want to be able to have literal kids work because of the "labor shortage". Half of Congress would bring back slavery if it was allowed


I did that at my dads gas station in the 90’s. Closed the store in grade 11 and 12 at midnight. Got like 6 hours of sleep and did it all again the next day. Surprisingly I still passed high school, barely. Looking back if I didn’t have a full time job in high school I probably could have gone to university.


America is regressing to 1860. The christo-facists want to take it back to year 300 when the bible was written. Now the red states want a 14 year old serving liquor in a bar. Merica


Well yeah. Because if people can't afford Healthcare and can't afford food and can't afford proper shelter, and sex ed doesn't cover contraception but abortions are illegal and the maternal death rate is so high, LOTS of working class people will die young. If you want to actually get labor our of them for now than two years you gotta have them working as kids! Evil, evil bastards know exactly what they are doing.


Rolling back child labor laws are also going to have kids dropping out of school in favor of working to help their families.


THIS!!! Poor, lazy, or just over all shitty parents are going to expect their kids to start working. Listen, there is nothing wrong with a 13 year old mowing the occasional lawn, babysitting, or washing cars for some cash. But having kids work till 10, 11, and midnight on a school night. This means their education is no longer a priority to the adults around them, this is a problem!


Destroying the public education system has been one of the GOP plans for a long time… I cannot fathom how many people still vote for these clowns just to “own the libs”, many probably knowing full well that they’re actively destroying the country. I think they took a page out of putin’s playbook. The one that says “if i can’t have it, NOONE can”. It is literally the largest domestic terror organization in the country.


\-Allow schools to be anxiety-ridden potential shooting galleries. \-Have no proper system in place to deal with bullying, dangerous students, nor sort kids properly. \-Underpay teachers, underfund the schools themselves and overcrowd them. \-Wreck their libraries, and keep librarians in danger of court or worse. \-School system goes to hell, (teachers resigning, etc.) while the Church moves in to open libraries, install chaplains and insert religious curricula - in effect, using the state system to indoctrinate their religious agenda making the school system their own. \-With the curriculum biased, ahistorical and inaccurate, an education won't be worth as much to higher schools where competency and developed skills are required. So the dropout rate increases. Meanwhile: Frighten doctors, OB/Gyn and women's healthcare and abortion out of the state - and even try to make it nationally impossible to get family planning, abortion, etc. = On the average, probably more kids. With parents unable to provide (if women still have jobs, equal pay or aren't to busy giving birth or recovering from it to work) Having children work to support themselves and contribute makes awful sense.


It's funny how the christo-facists agenda always somehow lines up with the 1% agenda 🤔 but propaganda would never happen in America right?


It’s almost like when capitalism has a crisis, the ruling class uses fascism to maintain their power. Who could have predicted this? (Hint: it was Marx. Marx predicted this)


And don’t forget the affleck to his Damon, Engels!


Yeah. That's how it is at my job, too. Or if you have to do something by yourself, we have these things that you use to block the door from closing. Dunno what they're called but you can put them on a hinge and it stops the door from closing.




A brick


I’m sure with chronic staffing shortages this policy wouldn’t hold today. They’d have to close too frequently and corporate wouldn’t tolerate it because….PROFITS


This right here. Pretty much every fast or fast casual place I’ve considered eating around me has been staffed with one person and in some instances they had no contact with management. Safety is not the company’s concern. I would never work a job like that, no fucking shot.


That's the irony, isn't it? They can't find employees because of the conditions of the job, but simultaneously, by not being able to find a full staff, the job becomes all that much more dangerous for the people who have no choice but to take any employment they can find.


I mean yeah, but as long as they post record profits, that's what really matters.


Denny's hasn't been turning a profit in decades but yet all their locations near me (even he shittiest ones) are still open despite barely having any customers (they pray for big local events and the elderly regulars to stay alive). They're all pretty much understaffed (by choice even though they all have the "now hiring" sign outside) and I'm just thinking "why won't you die, dammit!? Hometown Buffet is pretty much gone oh but it's okay cause Denny's is still here!" /s Newsflash: there is no Denny. They renamed it that from Danny's Donuts. And I don't even think there was an actually Danny either.


I’ve worked a few places that had that rule. Guess how many of them thoroughly followed that rule? (None) Corporate’s gonna corporate, even if it means breaking their own rules.


I worked at an Arbys for 3 years. Our walk in freezer also wouldn’t open once the door shut and latched. You’d had to prop it open or make sure it didnt latch, also you’d walk into the fridge, then there was a separate door to the freezer. I remember one time one of the other morning crew members hadn’t been seen in awhile but no one noticed. She was stuck in the freezer and a shelf was moved in front of the shut door while freight was being put into the fridge. I went into the freezer after moving the shelf to get the turnovers to bake that morning. My coworker joked that she thought no one was going to find her in there.


I don't understand why a door like a freezer would need to be locked. Once someone's inside the area, latching access to the freezer doesn't save anything. For safety reasons that door should be able to be **easily** opened from both sides.


I’ve worked in many kitchens and all the ones I’ve worked at had a safety feature that if the door handle didn’t work it locked you could twist a knob to the right of the lock and it would detach the lock and the door could be pushed open. To be honest I though all had them. Should be mandatory


Oddly enough in the many many kitchen I've worked in over the years all had this....except for arbys....and the latch was usually broken, the one I worked in kept an axe in the freezer.


This is why communication is important. Even if you think nothing will happen, me and my team let each other know what we're doing/going. "I gotta use the bathroom", "I'm headed to the cooler to stock", "I'm gonna smoke a cigarette/make a phone call". That way everyone is accounted for, and if someone hasn't been seen in a while, we know where to start looking.


Yeah I have had 4 seizures in the past two years. 3 at work. So now everytime I do anything I let people know. They made fun of me for saying I was going to the bathroom until I explained I'd like them to know where I am if I have a seizure.


Had a coworker who was expecting a seizure patient in for EEG monitoring but they were late. The family showed up to the floor asking where she was and they immediately started looking for the patient. Turns out the family had dropped her off at the front door of the facility while they parked, she stopped at the restroom before checking in, had a seizure and died of SUDEP before anyone knew she was missing. It's scary stuff sometimes and people have no idea.




Crazy that employees have to do this instead of being able to rely on their employers to provide a safe working environment lmao ETA: y’all are right it’s always important to have safety measures in place. This is what I meant, but it’s more accurate to say that it’s crazy employers can often **only** rely on organizing themselves and putting measures in place themselves instead of being able to rely on their employers to provide a safe working environment, which *includes* implementing and ensuring adherence to safety measures


I worked at an Arby’s all through high school. Our freezer was outside, so it had one of those disc locks. This was 95-99, so I honestly don’t remember if it had a way to open it from inside. But I do know our store opened at 1030am back then; I think it’s 11am now. Of course, we also would have had at least 6 crew members plus a manager on duty by 9am back then, too.




No kidding, I was on a jury for a guy suing the city after getting a brain injury. He walked away with 7 million. Here someone actually died and its a large corporation.


Death costs less than a debilitating brain injury


Death just gets you future earnings to like age 65 or so. Injury that keeps you from working gets that plus money for care for rest of life.


That is so messed up if you think about it. If someone wrongly kills you through negligence all they have to pay your family is an estimate of how much you'd have made if you went to work the rest of your life anyway? Well gee that sounds like a great reason to keep wages low.


Yep. They hire an actuary who weighs up your likely meat sack earnings, and that's about what your family gets. It's appalling. Really fucked up when like an apprentice or pre-apprentice gets fucked up or killed and they do the math on what he makes, not what he was about to make as long as he turned out a journeyman. "Motherfuckers, they weren't going to always be making 14/hr."


While it looks like they did name Arby’s corporation in the suit as one of the defendants, the main defendant is the franchise owner and the family’s lawyer likely believes Arby’s corporation will not be held liable because they don’t own nor operate the establishment. Arby’s corporation choosing to write a check would be a pure PR movie (and is likely why they were included in the suit), otherwise the criminal liability falls with that local franchise owner who would have their own commercial insurance. It’s possible $1 mil is the maximum they are insured for so that’s where they set the number.


Owner(*franchisee)/corporate should be sued to oblivion. *Edited


Should be thrown into jail for manslaughter.


This! It should be criminal responsibility for such situations, otherwise its just small fine to pay...


They weren't pressing charges against other employees. But the owner(*franchisee)/company is financially liable for maintenance neglect of known issues. A $14 an hour shift manager suffered an agonizing death at the hands of greedy owners and Arby's. *Edited*


If your freezer latch is broken leave that shit open until every piece of food in there is rotten. Only way corporate fixes it. Doing anything else will cost a life.


Why is there a lock on them at all? Or a very simple guaranteed way of opening from the inside? Boggles the mind. 🤨 Edit: People keep replying saying it's not a lock but a latch with a 'guaranteed' way of opening it from the inside, but it was broken. How is it a guaranteed way of opening the door if said mechanism can break or jam or whatever the fuck happened here. There has to be another better, safer ...100% getting out every time solution. Like one guy said, a permanent fire axe inside would have been handy. 🥶


Isn't that what we're talking about? The latch was broken, you're supposed to be able to get out from inside easily, but since the latch was broken she got stuck inside of it.


From a design standpoint, a malfunctioning freezer latch should not engage at all rather than permanently lock


Yep! This is the meaning of failsafe!


Yeah so in this case it was poorly designed. The family could probably also sue the manufacturer of the freezer. It probably doesn't take a genius to design a door that doesn't latch at all unless you do something to the handle from the outside and then this would never happen again


You would think, but they’ve had the same types of doors for at least 30-40 years.


Failure should be open not closed. Engineering 101.


I think they save money by not addressing this problem. That's why the franchisee owners need to go to prison for this immoral negligence. Arby's should also pay something like $20mil to the victim's family. I guarantee you it won't be cheaper after this!


We have a large walk in freezer at my work. It has a knob on the inside you can turn that disassembles the latch on the outside to prevent this. Why that isn’t mandatory I have no idea.


This is probably not the case, but there are situations where a regulation changes but would allow out of code things to be grandfathered in. The issue can be that once you replace/fix the latch, you need to bring the entire thing up to code, so it gets put off significantly longer than is reasonable.


I owned a home built in 1940. I was shocked at the things that weren’t required to be updated. But you’re right. If I did they’d have to be up to current code.


Yeah, at work, every door of our cold rooms has that emergency escape knob, plus there is an emergency alarm button beside every door. But then, even if they make them mandatory, they are only mandatory if the inspector comes to check on things... Or until someone is trapped.


Businesses can't be held responsible for a crime in any way other than financially, and it leads to crime being the cost of doing business. No matter what fine they pay, they will never learn, they will never change, and the family will never see justice. It makes me sick. Just look at the Sackler family and Perdue Pharma - they contributed to millions of lives destroyed by opiate addiction and they have seen zero personal consequences.


If we made corporations people, we should treat them as such. Someone needs to see the inside of a jail cell.


So we should make it so they *can* be held responsible for a crime in other ways. Either through liability for the executives or the ability to 'imprison' a corporation for a set timeframe. If such a corporation continues operations during the imprisonment, the corporation gets fined and the highest level of management responsible for the operations (ex. if the whole thing is running, then the CEO, if only a specific location is running, then the manager of that location) is arrested and tried for circumventing imprisonment or something of the like, unless they were not properly notified by their higher-ups, at which point their higher ups are arrested and tried for some form of neglect. (if they were properly notified; if not, it continues up the chain) You might say, "this would execute a corporation if it carried on for too long!" Astute observation! *That's a feature, not a bug.*


> probably covers the cost of the suit, so the owner just pays a In the civilised world, CEO and/or executive level management can face jail time for this sort of shit. wtf is wrong with the US?


Idk if I have enough time to write it all down


Liability insurance probably covers the cost of the suit, so the owner just pays a slightly increased premium next year.


I used to work for an insurance company. There's always some kind of negligent clause in the contract. This could include knowing about an ongoing issue. You're not fixing it. Also many insurance companies have clauses. In their contracts that demand so much time between shifts. If a person is in an accident due to insufficient sleep. And it's because they weren't given enough time between shifts. The insurance company can make the business liable for damages relating to the accident. Most managers never read the insurance contracts. But you'll be surprised what's in there. Of course this varies from state to state. And business to business. But I wouldn't be surprised if the owner will have to pay out of their own pocket. Because the insurance company won't cover negligence.




I got locked in a walk-in freezer for about 4 minutes once. It was fucking terrifying. I only was let out because we happened to have a meat delivery come and the driver heard me screaming for help. And no, upper management didn't care. The thought of dying this way has my stomach in a knot. How fkn awful.


When I was 17 my boss locked me in the cool room on purpose (barricaded it from outside) and stood outside laughing. When he let me out I told him to go fuck himself and quit on the spot. If I'd been a bit older and wiser I'd have reported him but I was so scared and angry that quitting is all I thought to do.


Honestly, the level of restraint you have for only quitting is impressive. I don't think it is the right thing to do, but I'm fairly sure I'd have at least an assault charge after that.


The level of restraint used qualifies as kidnapping.


I'd have an unlawful imprisonment charge, since I'd be dragging his ass into the freezer and keeping him in there for at least twice the duration.


It’s called a citizens arrest if you just do it until the cops get there to take him to jail for doing it to you.




"Revenge is a dish best served cold"


I'm so sorry, that is horrible.


Where I worked, it was impossible to lock a freezer if it either detected movement, body heat or changing oxygen levels. Just leaning against the door from the inside is also enough to unlock it. I can't imagine going into a freezer where there are no proper safeguards in place for accidental lockups.


Please tell me it also couldn't remain locked if it lost power.


Magnetic locks usually fail open for liability reasons. E: i am thinking of fire safety, i'm not sure if it applies to freezers


While liability is certainly a benefit, this is just how magnetic locks work. They require a constant source of power to be magnetic, so if power goes out it is no longer magnetic.


I feel you. I worked in a little seafood store for a few months and I was the only person that was not blood related. They hated me no matter what I did and locked me in the freezer twice. It was such a toxic environment and it was terrifying thinking they might have left me in there longer if they hadn't needed to fish out an item. There absolutely needs to be a way to open it from the inside.


I was a manager at a bar on a college campus 10 years ago and one of the first manager trainings was them telling us that if the place ever got held up, to lock ourselves in the walk in cooler or freezer. These weren’t modern, but both coolers had a way of locking your team in with no access from outside, both had a panic button that would notify the police and fire departments, and both had very visible kill switches to turn off the refrigeration. I feel like telling employees how to turn off a cooler from the inside should be part of every training session


I worked at a place that had a walk in freezer and it had these safety mechanisms. This was more than 20 years ago. Although we were told that it was in case we were locked in there as part of a robbery: go in, lock the door, kill the cooling, hit the panic button to get emergency services.


Just out of curiosity, if someone who is locked in a freezer (presumably with regular pants but with a t-shirt, polo shirt and one of those thick jackets they make you wear inside) manages to either engage the kill switch or destroy the fans, how much time would the average person be able to survive in that scenario?


I'd guess a few hours with a heavy coat on. Maybe 30-90 minutes without any sort of insulated clothing. Residential freezers usually run around zero degrees Fahrenheit, I'd assume commercials are at least that cold. They are designed to stay cold during power outages and the food inside provides a ton of thermal mass to keep it cold even longer. If you can't escape, using all the cardboard and plastic inside to insulate yourself would be the best option to prolong survival.


>There absolutely needs to be a way to open it from the inside. I think the law here is that there must be a way to open from the inside, there must not be a way to lock the outside, and there also must be an alarm just in case you get trapped inside


In my experience I've never seen a freezer with an alarm on it in the US. A big problem with just having those first 2 is it doesn't even come close to recognizing that some freezers are old and companies won't pay to get them fixed if all they need is a handle. Once the freezer is passed the manufacturers recommended life cycle, that handle has a very real chance of not working.


Most freezers I've worked at have had those easy push from the inside ones, but still not enough. The fridge has a freezer door inside, and sometimes it can get shut by ice.


Those pushy things are mandatory. But if the door is past the reccomended life, the pushy thing can just not work. Like if there is an ice build up in the handle and the company doesn't have enough people on staff to fix it in a timely manner or hasn't budgeted for a potentially life saving door while the CEO tells congress $2billion in profits shouldn't go to the employees. (Hint to the company right there)


All the cold rooms at my work have an emergency escape knob, and a large button labeled "duress alarm." But it's a pharmaceutical/biotech company, not the restaurant business.


And people wonder when places like this mysteriously catch on fire...


I believe you have my stapler.


The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides By the iniquities* of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.


I got locked in a freezer once as a prank. Someone took the knob off the inside as a joke to trap me in. I knew they would let me out but it is terrifying. There’s no way i would go into a freezer like that working alone. No thanks. What I don’t understand is how she was in there for so long. It says 9am? Shouldn’t someone have come around? Wonder if she panicked and after beating the door bloody just laid down in fetal position. I’d probably be doing jumping jacks till I couldn’t any longer.


I once visited a supermarket logistics centre as part of my job, and was given a tour of the facility. The freezer room was enormous,and their No 1 rule: No-one is allowed in there on their own. Always minimum 2 people.


What’s really insane is how those companies that sell the walk-in freezers and coolers never thought to install a mechanism that can open it from the inside. It’s insanity, like they never thought that this would be an issue. Apparently they have to have a safety release for the locking system for any walk-in freezers and coolers since 1956 (basically all of them today). Lawmakers may need to revisit this, and require easy-to-find signage within the freezer for the safety release for ALL walk-ins, as well as train staff on where it is and how to use it for the models that they have in the store.


This is something that is often checked at in inspections but most resteraunts are not checked more than once per year. It aas broken in this case since August. It being broken should be an OSHA violation. Not sure if it is, but they are one of the fastest responding agencies and I think if the freezer door does not open from the inside the workplace is not safe to operate.


> I’d probably be doing jumping jacks till I couldn’t any longer. I think a more proactive thing to do would be to focus on breaking the freezer somehow.


Shitty owner probably "oh, you're still alive? I'm going to have to take the costs of the freezer out of your check."




What’s the best strategy for that then? Saving this in my brain just in case


like someone else said, destroy the freezer unit first. I would take one of the shelving units (if it's metal poles) or any other large whacking device you can crudely construct. First target the electrical disconnecting the power supply. Then I would aim for an inner wall you could gouge into and start ripping a hole. The door will be more heavily constructed and the ceiling is hard to get leverage for a swing into so aim for an inner wall of your store. It's basically a big cooler with sheet metal on each side so work into one layer, get through the insulation then work into the outer layer.


Smash the evaporator, fill the freezer with freon, and suffocate instead


Those things are industrial grade freezers, built to last. On top of that the actually cooling unit is away from the storage space. Good luck trying to damage one to the point it isn't functioning anymore. But keeping busy even in a futile effort is at least better than sitting still.


Maybe the one’s Arby’s has are different, but I think you’re vastly overestimating the durability of the cooling system. The walls are durable being essentially metal-plated and insulated 2x4 walls, but the cooling system is typically internal fan housing and cooling pipes feeding it. They break more often than you think, even well maintained ones.


Wouldn't air need to circle inside the freezer? clogging everything you see could at least make the cooling unit make some noise or something idk.


Happened to me once. Someone was stealing beer and the general manager decided to put a padlock on the cooler. I bitched about it and told him it was illegal. I was doing inventory and he walked by saw the padlock off and locked it without looking inside. I was in there about ten minutes before someone heard me. As soon as I got out I grabbed the padlock out of his hand, opened the back door, and chucked it into the parking lot, walked into the office, called my district manager and told him I wasn't working anymore until the padlock was gone. That shit is terrifying.


I had a similar experience, however management cared about us and the entire door was replaced within a week. EDIT: I also noticed that on the next routine safety tests they added that you should check latches before entering the freezer.


That’s horrifying. What a traumatizing thing to experience, he ow awful for you.


I was opening a tim hortons in a hospital (so completely alone) Got stuck in the freezer for almost an hour. Once staff arrived and let me out management kinda chuckled and said "at least you're done in 2 hours." Nope. Walked out. My hand had frost bite on the side from banging on the door. The emergency button was just double sided taped to the wall..


I would block the door with a box and a piece of wood every time I enter...


Always tell someone you trust that you are going into the freezer/fridge. Always prop the door open.


Manager would kick the block out "you're wasting electricity letting the cold air out"


I used to work in a restaurant and being locked in the freezer has always been my deepest fear. Just curious, does your phone has service in there? Can you call someone?


I worked in restaurants for almost a decade and every walk-in I’ve been in my phone would show no service.


Not really, those things are insulated like a mother fucker so pretty much you get 0 signal. Even if you broke the fan you would still quickly freeze to death just because of the insulation inside of them.


This is so horrible. When I was 17 I worked in a burger King. The freezer didn't have a way of opening it from the inside, only the outside. One of my managers didn't like me and he shut the door on me when I was in there and left me there for 10 ish minutes. I was crying by the time he let me out, he was laughing at me. I punched him hard in the lower stomach and he bent over, coughed, then told me to go home. Then on the way home HIS manager called me apologising profuseley and saying if I want to come back I never have to work with that manager again. Turned out stupid manager had laughed about what he'd done to several people and they had told big manager. Looking back on it I think big manager might have been scared of me getting all litigationy. It should be hella illegal for freezers to not be openable from the inside. Poor lady :( :( :(


I am so glad you punched him, got what he deserved. What a dick!


Definitely, massive dick. Cannot overstate how terrifying it was. Wish I'd hit him harder, with a chair. Lol.


I work in a residential setting with minors. Our freezer locks from the kitchen side if it's closed, but opens to the loading bay with no lock on the other side. I tell everyone, especially the kids, how to get out if the kitchen door slides shut. I'll be putting a sign on the door today. I can't imagine the fear. It's a good way to traumatize someone, at best.


Definitely a good idea having a sign there, it was so freaking scary. Our freezer didn't have a light either so it was doubly scary. :(


What a fucking psychopath. I can imagine this idiotic nutjob being the same person that does horrendous shit to other people and say "It's just a prank bro! The camera's recording".


Good on you for punching that piece of shit in the stomach. Hope he was in pain for a decent bit.


He had a couple of days off and then transferred to a different burger King. I don't think I hit him that hard. Was as hard as I could but I was only little. If he did that to me now it would be a nut shot. Douche manager.


I was taking photos for a real estate listing of a large commercial kitchen facility once and got locked in the freezer. I looked down and the inside handle was broken off. I started hammering on the door and nobody answered, so I called the realtor, who called the manager, who happened to be outside smoking a joint, who came and let me out. The guy was like, oh hey man, the latch on the freezer is broken. It was -30 C in the freezer, and I had a short sleeved shirt, jeans, and skater shoes on, so it could have gotten ugly pretty quickly.




Would the temperature rise quickly enough?


You will last a lot longer with those fans turned off. Windchill is brutal compared to stagnant cold air.


Without the fan running you'd be able to last for a number of hours/more than a day without a problem. Pull your arms into your shirt and ball up (haunch it, don't sit). I used to do inventory in a giant walk in freezer we kept at <-20°F (after turning off the fans) for hours at a time in jeans and a chef coat. Biggest issue is keeping your hands warm.


Definitely not, best bet would be remote monitoring would see it lose power and hopefully send someone out immediately to repair. Even then you’d be in dire straits before someone arrived, if you were still alive.


If the ambient temp is high enough it starts to rise rather quickly. Especially in the south. Source: dairy/frozen dept manager for a few years in the south. Not saying this is universal. And the panic factor comes into play. Even with the safety latch we were always told to prop the door and make your trips in and out quick. This poor lady died in a horrible way for something so easily preventable. Fixing the door latch does not cost that much and a human life is worth so much more.


Fuck people’s apathy. It’s truly terrifying they DGAF if someone dies


Every fire regulation we have is because people don't give a fuck.


At the bar I used to work at, showing new bartenders how to turn off the walk-in from the inside was a day one thing. We also kept a sub-zero coat on there just incase.


That's smart


That poor woman, thats so horrible


Heres the real question. Tragic events like this happen all the time. Why has no one mandated an emergency exit on freezers? An alarm? A phone to call 9-11? Nothing. There are zero safety neasures required on walk-in freezers.


A non-emergency button that sounds an alarm for other staff present, and an emergency button that automatically alerts emergency services in case the person locked in is alone should be about the easiest shit ever, you'd think


Or even just a big red off switch for the refrigerator unit. Even car trunks have to have a glow in the dark pull handle to open from the inside. Easy to retrofit, and cheap, so companies will love it, but it can still save a life.


The size of those freezers and the amount of insulation coupled with all the mass stored in those freezers is enough differential thermal energy that the person would be long dead before it got to room temperature. Any safety shutoff would need a heater as well for it to be functional.


Car trunks didn’t have those by law until like 20 years ago


Considering that people aren't meant to go into car boots to begin with, it's still a disgrace that there's a full two decades they have on a release mechanism for a cold room that people are meant to enter routinely


One of the people I worked with was carjacked once and after he was locked in the boot, they decided to set his car on fire. Luckily it had a release mechanism feature and he was able to get out. This was in Sydney, Australia by the way around the early 2000s. He even went to work that day (consultant doctor, no one made him and they would have given him time off if he asked).


That's...not so much a carjacking as it is an attempted murder??? Like carjackers don't usually take you with the car, and then try and set it on fire. Generally the car itself is the object of the theft in a carjacking, no?


The whole business was very weird. https://www.smh.com.au/national/doctors-early-morning-carjack-nightmare-20070320-gdpprp.html I'm remembering it slightly wrong, this happened after I worked at the same place with him, so late 2000s. I remember it as the boot popping open and assuming it was a release mechanism but this article makes it sound like they let him out perhaps? Though even that's not quite clear. I heard about it secondhand, I guess the newspaper is the most definitive item I can show you and the whole thing just sounded bonkers then and even more so now that I've read it just then.


It could even be something simple like a hatch on the door itself.


These exist, though realizing you are trapped in a dark, frigid cooler is not the best recipe for calmly feeling around for the latch release. Such a latch was present here, but was apparently broken and unfixed despite management knowing for some time.


There's a pushable knob in the inside so you can just open the door and go... but I've worked in a lot of places where the fucking knob is just missing.


Which was present but broken, apparently.


There are safety regulations but they weren't following them.


Even more reason for the damages to be astronomical. It should be such a huge payout that all companies look at it and think 'holy shit we better make sure we follow all the regulations.'


IMO this should be charges pressed against the owner. Stop with this paying out damages. We want business owners to actually follow procedure? Simple, if an employee is injured due to an OSHA or other workplace violation, jail time. They don’t care about money, they have so much it doesn’t matter, plus insurance will pay out anyway so they really don’t care. Take away their freedom for a bit and I promise every owner’s ears will perk up. That’s the thing money can’t buy back. Start pressing negligence charges and throw them in the clink for a year.


Freezer locks on the inside are glow in the dark push knobs and works even if padlocked on the outside. [Walk-in Cooler Freezer Door Handle Assembly](https://flickr.com/photos/walkin-freezer-us-cooler/4604705614) It is noted that it was faulty and management did nothing. Edit: Here is a better view of the [Inside Handle](https://www.webstaurantstore.com/kason-486a-00600-inside-handle-for-56-lat/HP486A00600.html). Only costs 62 dollars.


I wired quite a few restaurants. I've never seen a walk-in freezer with out an emergency escape method. Most of them have a handle that just twists off, which disables the latching mechanism (allowing the door to open).


Pretty sure modern freezers aren’t allowed to latch closed for that very reason, my certainly don’t, they just have the door weighted to swing close, then pressurize with a gasket like the fridge in your home. The one time I did work in a latching freezer it had a release on the inside of the door, and a fire axe stored inside for emergencies


Maybe a fire axe would have saved this poor woman's life. How the fuck much would it cost a chain to put one in each freezer? What, $30 each? She could still be alive today.


I was locked in a large walk-in cooler used for resort beer storage for 5 hour once. I worked a golf resort as room service in central FL in highschool over the summer. The over night room service was slow that night and I was ordered to rotate the beer. (Moving older beer forward in the rack and the fresh deliveries to back of the rack) I finished the work in about an hour. I went to leave and the latch door didn't work. After a few attempts I went the the emergency push button and it didn't work...well fuck. I'm in the cooler in shorts and a polo. I spent the next 4 hours hitting the door with my fists and then using a cart used for moving cases to the beer bunny stands. An early morning prep cook was smoking near by and came to let me out. He looked surprised. He asked my why I was in the cooler with the door shut when the inside latch doesn't work. I went to my supervisor who was pissed he couldn't find me all night. He had already written me up and didn't care to remove it once he knew what had happened. I went home and never returned.


The fuck? The dipshit just wrote you up and didn't think to look in the one place you were told to go? You could've died if you weren't so lucky. Thank god you had the self respect to not go back. No job is worth your life, let alone a part time high school one.


Ya my pops was more upset about the loss of the $5 employee tee times than me not going back. I ended up loading trucks with civilized people that summer after the batshit crazy golf course. I think the golf course room service pay way $2 and hour plus tips too. It's probably the same pay today.




Everyone in that decision chain should go to jail for manslaughter. Corporate America needs to begin paying in jail time


May she rest in peace. What a meaningless and unnecessary waste of a womans life


Arby's is honestly one of the worst places I could imagine dying. This is one of the worst stories I have ever heard.


I worked there in the early 2000’s. Fuck that place into oblivion.


I work in a grocery store and our walk in freezers have axes in them. Technically they're for smashing out the handle with the blunt side and there is documentation explicitly stating not to try and hack the door open but there is an understanding that that is always a final option.


What an absolutely horrifying way to go. May she rest in peace.


But I have a better idea! Let’s send children to work in these conditions instead! Right, guys? Right?


That’s why any freezer built in the last 40 years or so isn’t supposed to have a latch at all, they simply pressurize with a gasket like the freezer in you home (which stopped using latches in like…the 50’s because people kept dying in them) that store having a latched freezer at all was likely a huge osha violation, even if it wasn’t broken


That's what I don't understand. I worked at plenty of restaurants. All the freezers had a push plate on the inside that would immediately open if the door closed and you needed to get out.


It all comes down to money, yes they "could" focus on safety. But, here is a company delivering freezer doors for half of one without said safety feature and nobody cares anyways. Of course when it goes wrong it's never the people who decided on this course of action that gets fucked, it's always someone else so why would it matter? They're not going in there anyways


Worked at a deli where the walk in freezer door latch didn't open from the inside. If the door closed on you, you were locked in. Management knew. Management never got it fixed. Because of this every time I hired a new guy, I made sure to warn them about that freezer because I knew someone was gonna die in there if they didn't know. I don't work there anymore and the freezer door still can't be opened from the inside. Would not be surprised if someone ends up dead in the news one day.


Send them this article by certified mail. Notify them if anyone ever dies that you'll be testifying they knew the risk. Or email or message to create a paper trail of some kind. Maybe they'll fix it.


I got trapped inside the wall in freezer at McDonald’s as a teen for about 20 minutes and it was absolutely terrifying. We had a full crew working at the time but No one could hear me screaming and pounding on the door and I seriously thought I was going to freeze to death. If they hadn’t needed to get some burgers out when they did I could’ve easily ended up like this woman. The management thst ignored this are directly responsible for her preventable death and I hope karma kicks them in the teeth. JFC that poor woman.


Am I the only one who thinks this title is really poorly written?


I thought she killed her family, put them in the freezer, and was trying to keep it shut by hammering it.


I work at a company that is worth 400billion and there is shit broken every square foot.


It's political. In the Eisenhower days, taxes on high earners and corporations were high. To avoid taxes, you could reinvest in the business. If shit broke, you depreciated it, sold it for whatever you could get, and replaced it. On the taxes, you wrote off the value of your old broken shit and the purchase price of the new replacement. And you added real value to your business, a business where the AC worked in the kitchen and the shift manager wasn't dead in the freezer. Now ownership just hoards all their money in investment accounts and stock buyback because there's no reason not to. The paper value grows because buybacks improve stock valuation, but the business itself is going to shit. You want to make America great again? Tax the rich.


Major lawsuit incoming. Won’t make up for this innocent life lost. RIP


I read the title like 12 times before I realized a family was not found dead


I worked at an Arby's. Their overhead fire suppression system for the fryer didn't work. But honestly, if you're stuck in a freezer, rip the fans or the wiring out. May make a difference. Making an igloo out of fry boxes aint a bad idea either. Make shift carboard clothes can offer some insulation.


I'm surprised there wasn't surveillance in the walk in usually to prevent theft of food from the min wage workers on food Stamps I don't think this place is gonna be open anymore.


Most walk-ins I’ve worked in don’t have cameras, an issue with fog/condensation iirc


That would only buy you some time, they're well insulated and there's lots of already frozen foods in there keeping it too cold to survive for more than a few hours even if the freezer isn't on.


don't want this to happen again? charge the owner and general manager with Manslaughter and put them away for life, I Guarantee it will get attention.


This is truly heartbreaking, may she rest in peace, always have your phone on you when you go into a freezer at work, I’ve had a few close calls over the years


Freezers like this often completely cut out cell signals. Never close the door while inside. Ever.


Makes me glad my freezer has a Wi-Fi router inside (so my scanner will work) I have a way to access the outside world just in case. Then again our doors don’t latch, because that’s stupid dangerous


If the freezer is lined with metal, having a phone would be pointless because the metal would act like a Faraday cage, blocking the cellular signal.


Holy shit! That poor woman’s last moments, and her son having to live with the memory of discovering her!


This is supremely fucked up. Slow death alone in a fucking freezer where you already work as a wage slave.


rip. This worker died due to capitalism. The corporations don't care about workers, they only tolerate them.




I had to reread the title because initially I thought it was saying the family of the manager were found dead in the freezer.


I work overnight stock in a grocery store (big chain store) in the frozen department. My freezer is CONSTANTLY having issues, my personal favorite being the door sensor not working correctly so the fan doesn't shut off when the door opens. This leads to ice build up along the door, to the point I have to have a small prybar nearby to bash the ice off when I arrive most nights. Management told me when I started to make sure I keep the door closed while I'm moving stock around inside "so it doesn't thaw out". I told them there was no chance in hell I was going to lock myself in this janky ass freezer.




In Australia, every walk in freezer I have ever seen has an emergency button, a mechanical bell *and* giant wing nuts that you can undo that drop the entire door off its hinges.