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The homeless man who had water poured on him by a Dunkin’ Donuts employee in Syracuse, New York, said he was charging his cellphone to call his mother Sunday night, Syracuse.com reported.
Jeremy Dufresne said he sometimes stops into the Dunkin’ Donuts store to stay warm and charge his phone. He said he sleeps outside most nights and eats at the nearby Samaritan Center. He was charging his phone and put his head down on the table when he was doused by a Dunkin’ Donuts worker, he told Syracuse.com.
The incident was caught on video, which went viral after it was posted on Facebook.
"He probably had some personal problems of his own and needed someone to talk to," Dufresne told Syracuse.com from the kitchen of his aunt, Betty Jo Craven. "And he took it out on someone else, like me."
The employees involved in the incident were fired, according to a statement from Kimberly Wolak, Dunkin’ Franchisee and chief operating officer for the Syracuse store. “We we will be contacting the individual in the video to apologize for the negative experience,” Wolak said.
Dufresne said he was surprised when the worker dumped water on him.
"I grabbed my stuff and left," he told Syracuse.com.
Dufresne said he was not sleeping, just waiting for his phone to charge. He told Syracuse.com that the other workers at the Dunkin’ Donuts store have been nice to him, telling him only not to bother other customers. Dufresne said he has honored that request.
Dufresne said he suffers from schizophrenia and has no desire to live inside, saying he prefers to be alone.
"The only time I talk to people is when I talk to my family," Dufresne told Syracuse.com.
Dufresne’s mother, Bobbie Jo Richardson, said oxygen was cut off to her son’s brain when he was born, Syracuse.com reported. He has epilepsy and a learning disability, Richardson said. When Dufresne was 2, his father was involved in a motorcycle accident that left the man in a coma until he died 12 years later.
Dufresne dropped out of high school but said he wanted to be an artist.
"I like concept art, scenery," he told Syracuse.com.
Dufresne said he gave up on that idea and took to the streets, despite pleas from his family to stay home.
Dufresne said he simply prefers to be outside.
"I look forward to the afternoon, when it's warm," he told Syracuse.com.