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A teenage ice cream shop employee who quit her job after withstanding verbal assaults from customers amid the new coronavirus pandemic got some help from her former boss and the community in paying for college.

Mark Lawrence, the owner of the Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour in Mashpee, set up a GoFundMe page to support his former employee. And as of Wednesday afternoon, the campaign has raised nearly $40,000.

Lawrence said the employee, a 17-year-old girl, was one of his best employees and spent three years working at the Polar Cave. But she quit due to verbal assaults and customers not following safety protocols.

Lawrence reopened the Polar Cave to grab some Mother’s Day weekend business Friday and implemented an advance order policy, including a one-hour request, to keep customers safe. Instead of filling out the order form and waiting, people just drove up to the shop, ordered, and then, became angry and frustrated when they had to wait an hour while requests ordered in the queue were filled first.

The disrespect towards Lawrence and his employees were why he decided to temporarily close again after the re-opening, Lawrence said.

“This past Friday, our opening night of the year, she was met with an unyielding verbal assault with some of the most vulgar and disgusting words hurled at her, these shouldn’t be heard in a men’s locker room, never mind directed to a teenager!” Lawrence wrote on his GoFundMe campaign. “In spite of this, she continued to work until the last ice cream was served and then turned in her apron. Asked why she didn’t tell me sooner of this behavior, she simply said she didn’t want to disappoint me or our loyal fans.”

A couple days after the incident, Lawrence said he was inundated with calls and messages from people asking if there was anything they could do for the girl. Lawrence set up the GoFundMe Monday, and support has rapidly poured in. He also re-opened the shop and said people have been kind and following the rules since then.

“One kind gentleman offered to pay her salary until she came back or found a new job,” Lawrence said. “So, as a result of all these offers, it seems like this is the way to go. All donations, no matter how small, will make a difference. All funds will go directly to her college fund.”