NORTH HOLLYWOOD (KABC) -- A woman is telling her side of the story after going on a tirade for being asked to wear a face mask in a Trader Joe's store in North Hollywood.
She says the angry encounter started in response to a customer who harassed her because she wasn't wearing a mask.
"Right away he started using obscenities at me, saying 'f you,' the c word, 'wear your f-ing mask' all of this," she says.
The woman, who asked ABC7 not to use her name, says she called a Trader Joe's store in Toluca Lake and was given permission by the manager to come in and shop without a facial covering. But she claims she mistakenly went to North Hollywood where another manager told her she would make an exception allowing her to buy groceries without a mask on that day only.
The confrontation happened when she started shopping.
"I did what any normal human being, a woman, would do if she was being harassed by a man, not knowing if he's a crazy man, so I started yelling in self defense," she says.
The woman says she does not regret what she said during the encounter.
"Unlike whatever lies they are putting out there, I had no political agenda. I had nothing. They might use whatever else I said later in my anger, it doesn't matter. What happened to me should not be happening to anyone else," she says.
Health officials on all levels say that a mask on a person infected with COVID-19 helps contain microdroplets within the mask, not breathing them on people around.
Trader Joe's policy is consistent. However, according to the Trader Joe's website, it does offer wiggle room.
"It is our preference for and we strongly encourage customers to wear a mask or face covering while shopping in all our stores," a Trader Joe's statement said. "Where face coverings are required by state or local authorities, we communicate that to our customers as well."
There is no explicit statement to requiring a mask.
The woman says she had permission from a store manager to go maskless, that a man aggressively cursed her out. She maintains she has a medical condition that affects her nose, but not her breathing.
There are security cameras throughout Trader Joe's stores. The company would not offer any details about what they might have shown, saying only that the woman's story was not factual. ABC7 found no one who witnessed the alleged harassment.
A manager said they offered to do her shopping for her while she waited outside, but she refused.