Photo: Getty Images
  /  11.21.2022

Bianca Palomera, 19, jumped to the rescue when she saw a special needs teen being bullied at her job. Unfortunately, her heroism has left the assistant manager of The Habit Burger Grill in Antioch, California blind in her right eye.

Local news station KRON 4 spoke with Palomera on Friday (Nov. 18) about the incident. She said her 5 p.m. shift at 2430 Mahogany Way had just begun when a group entered the fast food restaurant and started verbally harassing her co-worker’s special needs brother. The victim was described as a “high school-aged boy.” The teen was picking up his sister from work when the individuals began pestering him without provocation. Palomera intervened, asking the bullies to leave The Habit Burger, however, things took a drastic turn.

According to the assistant manager, one of the males in the group approached her and began fussing before yelling anti-Mexican slurs. From there, a physical altercation started. While defending the special needs teen, Palomera was punched in her right eye. “I thought I was crying, but then I realized that it was blood going down my cheek onto my shirt,” she said during an interview with KRON 4. She continued, “And then at the ER when they opened it, I asked, ‘Did you open my eye?’ And that’s kind of when I knew I couldn’t see. It was just black.”

She then got the devastating news that her eye was ruptured and it would no longer be able to function. After hearing her story, the community has come together to raise over $31,000 to assist with her medical expenses. The 19-year-old told the news station that after the attack, the suspects grabbed their food and fled the scene in a gray BMW SUV. It took police around two hours to respond to her call, and although her vision is permanently impaired, she said she would still do it all over again.

“Even though I did get basically disabled, or you know, I can’t see out of my eye, don’t be afraid to step up for somebody whether you know them or not,” Palomera shared. “If you won’t do it, no one else will. If you’re scared to do it, at least let someone else know what’s going on. Two people is better than one,” she added.


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