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Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

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Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Old 05-08-18, 06:40 PM
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Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

I’ve either witnessed incidents of violence and harassment in fast-food restaurants or read news accounts about such incidents and, after witnessing one patron’s crazy, unprovoked verbal attacks and threats aimed at another patron in McDonald’s today, I have some questions.

1) Why doesn’t the manager immediately call the police? (I live in New York and there are usually cops patrolling the shopping street where this McDonald’s is located.)

2) If a person was to be attacked physically, unprovoked, by another patron, can the victim sue McDonald’s (or whatever place it is) if the manager doesn’t call the police right away and try to have the perpetrator arrested?

3) Can’t the manager have panhandlers ejected, either by store staff or the police? If so, why don’t they do it?

4) How do stores/shopping districts beef up security for incidents like this without the store having to hire full-time security guards?

I refuse to go into my local Burger King because the last time I was there, a panhandler harassed every patron at the cash register asking for the change they received and the store employees did nothing. This wasn’t a bum or a homeless guy, but a robust, healthy-looking, relatively well-dressed man who was simply crazy.

And after today’s incident in McDonald’s, I won’t likely be going back there either. Too many people bringing on the crazy in my neighborhood lately.
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Old 05-08-18, 07:02 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post

And after today’s incident in McDonald’s, I won’t likely be going back there either. Too many people bringing on the crazy in my neighborhood lately.
Lay off that shitty food.
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Old 05-08-18, 07:05 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Stop hanging out with Mabuse.
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Old 05-08-18, 07:19 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

I’ve been to a lot of fast food restaurants in my time. I’ve never once witnessed violence while there. Of course, I usually avoid ghetto fast food restaurants so that may play a factor.

I have seen videos posted online of such acts though. I wouldn’t go back either if I got caught in the middle of a fight or nutjob causing trouble.
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Old 05-08-18, 07:36 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Depends. An establishment can be sued if help is requested but no representative makes an effort.

If it's a fight, the establishment does have an obligation because there is a risk to other patrons, risk to property of the establishment, or to risk to one of the party's involved in the fight that would make it obligatory to call the police or medical assistance.

Pushing somebody once generally doesn't count but should get attention by employees. At the request of the patron, assistance can be called by the establishment.

Verbal attacks happen all the time, so the establishment is legally on good ground because the police will show up and ask what's going on. If person A just verbally threatened person B, that's really not much of a 911 call. And police won't take it seriously. Get a weapon involved, it's now escalated into another category of a call.

Why? Because it's up to the person to call 911 or request the establishment call 911 if the person feels that their life is in danger. It is not up to the establishment to assume the person receiving the threats...is actually feeling their life is threatened. Physical violence is a different matter, and the establishment can easily make the 911 call because it is a disturbance to civility in that establishment.

About the only way to make your establishment a better place, is to call a non-911 number, get a hold of a cop, and let them know the recent changes. Hopefully, some dedicated time at the establishment will make a statement.

In your case, you have panhandling issues, and depending on the city...it's not kosher for police to "harass" panhandlers. I kid you not. So, you will be faced with realisms of politics on that one. If you have a city that has an unofficial policy (some cops will be blatantly honest), you're better off patronizing another business.

You can sue an establishment for just about anything for any reason. So, going to court is easy. If you have physical evidence you were injured, and nobody called the cops in a reasonable amount of time...yes, the establishment can certainly be held liable. But you'll also have to be in a position to NOT being able to call 911 yourself. In other words, your life was in the establishment's hands because you were not able to reasonably help yourself, and second, it was blatantly obvious your life was in danger and/or you expressed yourself in a manner that was consistent with that (i.e., screaming, "HELP ME!! HELP! CALL 911).

Last edited by DVD Polizei; 05-08-18 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 05-08-18, 07:47 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

The In-N-Out by us used to have this really nice open seating area outside. There was a fight, someone got hurt, and sued In-N-Out for not having security or something out there even though there had never been any problems before. There's no more nice open seating area - they completely removed it.
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Old 05-08-18, 08:58 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

I fucking HATE it when panhandlers ask me for money - I have come close to getting into fights with these pieces of shit on numerous occasions.

There is a McDonald's in my area that I don't like going to, but I sometimes find myself there in the mornings if I have business in that part of town & want some breakfast. It's not in a great area, and there is always some asshole patron there causing some kind of problem - usually a bum. I feel sorry for the people that have to work there.

Yes, stores should call LE on panhandlers who are harassing customers - or on patrons who are harassing other patrons. But, they probably don't because they're concerned about liability - and/or in looking too heavy handed.

Case in point: In Myrtle Beach, SC earlier this year a panhandler was hassling customers outside of a McDonald's by asking them for money. To me, this is fucking harassment - pure and simple. One of the customers took him into the McDonald's and bought him breakfast. The McDonald's then called the police on the panhandler (because of his previous harassment) and the customer who bought the panhandler breakfast started filming the encounter on his cell phone. If you look at the video, you'll see what appears to be an LE officer hassling a homeless guy eating his breakfast. However, if you read the story you'll see that this asshole was actually a regular at that McDonald's - i.e., a regular free-loader who was harassing innocent customers:

http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/new...203189509.html

However, the NIMROD who was taking the video footage didn't take into account the cycle of harassment that this motherfucking panhandler had put customers through for some time beforehand.

Unfortunately, fast food places seem to attract these types:


Last edited by TheDude; 05-08-18 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 05-08-18, 10:08 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Case in point: In Myrtle Beach, SC earlier this year a panhandler was hassling customers outside of a McDonald's by asking them for money. To me, this is fucking harassment - pure and simple.
If it's harassment, then the person needs to call the cops themselves...not McD's. If people don't call the cops...then why should an establishment get involved, if nothing more than being inconvenienced since the cops are not called by any of the patrons who were allegedly "harassed".
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Old 05-08-18, 10:31 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

I don't have time to cite sources but I can tell you that after the massacre at the McDonald's in San Ysidro CA in 1984 (Google James Huberty), the shooter's wife tried to sue McDonald's along with several families of the victims and the court found no responsibility on the part of McDonald's to protect people against violence on their premises.
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Old 05-08-18, 10:34 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Some people are just assholes. Why should any establishment be held responsible for assholes unless a crime is being committed that they could've prevented? Even that is a slippery slope.
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Old 05-08-18, 10:48 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

I assume this is part of the reason people wear headphones everywhere nowadays.
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Old 05-08-18, 10:49 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Originally Posted by Vibiana View Post
I don't have time to cite sources but I can tell you that after the massacre at the McDonald's in San Ysidro CA in 1984 (Google James Huberty), the shooter's wife tried to sue McDonald's along with several families of the victims and the court found no responsibility on the part of McDonald's to protect people against violence on their premises.
Well, a massacre is completely different. It's spontaneous. Happens out of nowhere. Reactions are not normal. The exception to all exceptions. Everyone is fleeing for their lives. Even employees. Even managers.

It's not surprising a court and even the jury...would give a thumbs-down to the lawsuit.

I mean, did McD's not call the police after the massacre happened or something? Did McD's employees hand out weapons to the assailant? Did they chant him on?

This might have something to do with the verdict:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Ys...#39;s_massacre

The first of many calls to the emergency services was made at 4:00 p.m., although the dispatcher mistakenly directed responding officers to another McDonald's two miles (three kilometers) from the San Ysidro Boulevard restaurant.[17] Within ten minutes, the police had arrived at the correct restaurant.

Last edited by DVD Polizei; 05-08-18 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 05-08-18, 11:39 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
I’ve either witnessed incidents of violence and harassment in fast-food restaurants or read news accounts about such incidents and, after witnessing one patron’s crazy, unprovoked verbal attacks and threats aimed at another patron in McDonald’s today, I have some questions.

1) Why doesn’t the manager immediately call the police? (I live in New York and there are usually cops patrolling the shopping street where this McDonald’s is located.)

2) If a person was to be attacked physically, unprovoked, by another patron, can the victim sue McDonald’s (or whatever place it is) if the manager doesn’t call the police right away and try to have the perpetrator arrested?

3) Can’t the manager have panhandlers ejected, either by store staff or the police? If so, why don’t they do it?

4) How do stores/shopping districts beef up security for incidents like this without the store having to hire full-time security guards?

I refuse to go into my local Burger King because the last time I was there, a panhandler harassed every patron at the cash register asking for the change they received and the store employees did nothing. This wasn’t a bum or a homeless guy, but a robust, healthy-looking, relatively well-dressed man who was simply crazy.

And after today’s incident in McDonald’s, I won’t likely be going back there either. Too many people bringing on the crazy in my neighborhood lately.
1) Managers should call the police if they anticipate trouble. I call them on a frequent basis if I expect a certain person entering the premesis to be a danger to store staff or patrons.

2) Yes

3) It's private property so they can ask anyone to leave as long as it does not involve a violation of their civil rights. If the panhandler refuses to leave or continues to come back, the best course of action is to have the police come and issue them a "no tresspass" form. If they come back within the next 6 months (or time period based on jurisdiction) of being issued one, they will be arrested.

4) They usually don't. Most of these businesses operate on the theory of "Hope for the best, plan for the best." and usually don't consider or plan for what to do if things go bad.
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Old 05-09-18, 08:50 AM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
If it's harassment, then the person needs to call the cops themselves...not McD's. If people don't call the cops...then why should an establishment get involved, if nothing more than being inconvenienced since the cops are not called by any of the patrons who were allegedly "harassed".
Disagree with this. I'm not blaming a fast food establishment that a panhandler/panhandler chooses to stand in front of (or in) and hassle people for money. However, the establishment is responsible for solving the issue as soon as possible & getting rid of the person. I.e., if this is occurring it's affecting all the patrons who enter the place, not just one patron. So, it's affecting the store as a whole, not just an individual.

In the Myrtle Beach, SC case I cited, enough patrons complained to the management. And, the management eventually called the LE on the panhandler, which was the correct response.

And, look at this from the stand-point of the store: If enough patrons complain that they being hassled & don't want to patronize the store anymore because of this, the store's sales will suffer. The OP himself mentioned that there was a fast food place he wouldn't go to anymore because of a panhandler. So, it's in the store's best interest to solve this issue themselves anyway.
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Old 05-09-18, 08:56 AM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Originally Posted by TheDude View Post
And, look at this from the stand-point of the store: If enough patrons complain that they being hassled & don't want to patronize the store anymore because of this, the store's sales will suffer. The OP himself mentioned that there was a fast food place he wouldn't go to anymore because of a panhandler. So, it's in the store's best interest to solve this issue themselves anyway.
You're assuming that the average fast food worker has the slightest care for the overall sales of the store. It's much easier to just ignore these situations versus taking action, and that's what probably 95% of FF workers would do.
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Old 05-09-18, 09:21 AM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

I was peripherally involved in a lawsuit against a Taco Bell franchise company back when I was in high school. I worked at the Taco Bell and we had had several fights there, mostly in the parking lot during the warmer months. Maybe one every six weeks or so. One night we had an attempted murder where one guy hit the other guy in the head with a full overhead swing from a metal baseball bat. I was usually the guy that went out into the parking lot to keep an eye on things (building damage, etc.) when fights occurred so I happened to be only about 20 feet away when this happened. The sound of the bat striking this guy's skull is something I have not forgotten in the almost 30 years since. The attacker (a college student) was later caught, arrested and plead out.

Many months later, just after I had moved away to start college, I was contacted and interviewed by an investigator as part of a lawsuit the victim had filed against the company that owned that Taco Bell. The basis for the lawsuit was that this Taco Bell had had several fights on premises and they were negligent in not hiring a security guard, at least for weekend nights. I was interviewed a second time by a different investigator. I was told that I might be subpoenaed to testify at a trial but that never happened so I don't have any idea how it ended up.

Anyway, FWIW.
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Old 05-09-18, 09:24 AM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Originally Posted by Noonan View Post
You're assuming that the average fast food worker has the slightest care for the overall sales of the store. It's much easier to just ignore these situations versus taking action, and that's what probably 95% of FF workers would do.
Your average FF worker? No. Your average FF general manager? Yes, absolutely.
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Old 05-09-18, 09:59 AM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Originally Posted by TheDude View Post
I fucking HATE it when panhandlers ask me for money - I have come close to getting into fights with these pieces of shit on numerous occasions.
Me, too. I don't give shit to anybody. Fuck 'em.

Just last week I was with my kids and we went to CVS to pick up a prescription. I parked my car facing a late model Honda CRV that was on the other side of the parking lot. Well dressed dude comes out. I glance down not thinking anything about it and grabbed my phone. Then I look up as this dude is tapping on my window. I step out of my car and the fucker is asking for money so he could get some gas to get to work. I was already having a bad morning and decided to take it out on this prick. I said "Fuck no. Sell you fucking car and used the bus. Fuckin' asshole. Step back!" He didn't say shit and walked away.

I told my daughter to stay in the car and if he comes back pepper spray his dumb ass. I get back to the car and the CRV was already gone. Fucker totally pissed me off.
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Old 05-09-18, 11:14 AM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Originally Posted by jfoobar View Post
Your average FF worker? No. Your average FF general manager? Yes, absolutely.
Agreed. Also, note that it's in the workers' best interest to not have panhandlers/homeless people on the premises, either. These people are potentially dangerous. As I've mentioned before, I work in a urban environment & take public transportation on a regular basis where I live. And, unfortunately I run into these people on a regular basis. Many of them are mentally ill and/or just entitled, and if you don't give them $ may get violent/aggressive. Or, they may just be violent & aggressive anyway.

So, if you're a fast food worker, would you feel safe working @ a location where you have to put up with shit from these people on a regular basis? I sure as hell wouldn't.
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Old 05-09-18, 11:23 AM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

I hate panhandlers/beggars too. I regularly see them on street corners at stop lights, etc, etc or just hanging out where lots of people walk by, that you expect.

The one that got me that I did not expect was inside a major name brand of supermarket.

I was shopping for food, looking at ice cream in the freezer section when I hear this 'hey man you got a dollar you can give me?' I look over (I am 6'5" and and about 230lbs) and see this wall of a human being (had to be 6'8" and 400+ lbs) asking me for money. I was like wtf, sorry man no cash on me (generally my standard response to anyone asking for money) he said ok and walked away.

He did not look homeless or lacking for anything (dressed ok, shaved, haircut, etc, hard to tell age, but 21+ I would guess) I usually dress like a bum, no way in the world anyone thinks I have money on me by looking at me. Maybe that I can afford ice cream was it or just random hitting up everyone in the store.

I hardly ever feel threatened by random people, but that was a little sketchy. As I was leaving the supermarket he was outside the door, I guess watching for new people to come in and to go harass them for a dollar.
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Old 05-09-18, 11:30 AM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Originally Posted by mrhan View Post
Me, too. I don't give shit to anybody. Fuck 'em.

Just last week I was with my kids and we went to CVS to pick up a prescription. I parked my car facing a late model Honda CRV that was on the other side of the parking lot. Well dressed dude comes out. I glance down not thinking anything about it and grabbed my phone. Then I look up as this dude is tapping on my window. I step out of my car and the fucker is asking for money so he could get some gas to get to work. I was already having a bad morning and decided to take it out on this prick. I said "Fuck no. Sell you fucking car and used the bus. Fuckin' asshole. Step back!" He didn't say shit and walked away.
I have screamed at intrusive panhandlers as well - the window tapping is especially disturbing & really puts me on edge, because they're coming right up to your car & there is a potential for danger there. They fucking ENRAGE me. It's the fault of the city government that doesn't take a hard stance against these fucking intrusive assholes.

When I prepared to go to NYC on vacation several summers ago, I expected to be besieged by panhandlers everywhere on the trip - due to the sheer amount of people that live/work/travel in the city. However, when I got there I went all over the city (using the subway, walking, etc.), and was pleasantly surprised by the lack of aggressive panhandling. Yes, there were people with signs asking for money - but they were easily ignored. So, whatever NYC has done to crack down on this problem, it worked! However, obviously other city governments don't have the balls to do the same thing.

Last edited by TheDude; 05-09-18 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 05-09-18, 11:40 AM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Originally Posted by TheDude View Post
I fucking HATE it when panhandlers ask me for money - I have come close to getting into fights with these pieces of shit on numerous occasions.
Originally Posted by TheDude View Post
I have screamed at panhandlers as well. They ENRAGE me.
That's very un-Dude-like, Dude.
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Old 05-09-18, 11:48 AM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Originally Posted by Kurtie Dee View Post
Stop hanging out with Mabuse.
How dare you.

I would never go to New York. But if I did I would hang with Ash because he is a local.
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Old 05-09-18, 12:36 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
How dare you.

I would never go to New York. But if I did I would hang with Ash because he is a local.
You were the only one kind enough to respond to my lame joke.

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Old 05-09-18, 01:11 PM
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Re: Are fast-food restaurants liable when violence occurs on their premises?

Originally Posted by Kurtie Dee View Post
Stop hanging out with Mabuse.
Could it be the case that Mabuse and Ash are actually the same person? Has anyone seen them both together at one location?

Enquiring minds want to know.

I think that the fast food/fast casual joints might call the cops if they genuinely fear that someone is going to be physically harmed but a dude hitting you up for change is not going to warrant that type of response.

I remember the news story not that far back about the brawl that broke out in a restaurant at the Newpark Mall near where I live and there was nothing in the news to indicate that the restaurant was liable for the actions of its patrons.

I think it is analogous to what happens when you park at a mall or other facility and you see those signs that say that the developer/stores at the site are not liable if your car is broken into or stolen.

If an actual employee harms a patron all bets are off, otherwise, you eat at McDonalds at your own risk.

Speaking of...I will be hitting up McDonald's for lunch to try out their new and improved Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Yum.

ETA: The edge of a portion of the patty had a bit too much salt, but once I got past that part it was actually a bit fresher tasting than an average QP. It also looked to me like the patty was a wee bit larger than the old model patty for the QP, but I could be wrong about that.

Last edited by Inhumans99; 05-09-18 at 04:11 PM.
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