Helgerson said it all started when the women were having dinner at the Industrial Boulevard location in McDonough, and one of the diners was sitting with her leg out in an aisle.
“The waitress had brushed up against her leg,” Helgerson said. “There was an initial conversation about that.”
The waitress, who is in her 20s, reportedly apologized to the woman, claiming it was an accident. After the table complained about not receiving their food, the waitress went to the kitchen to retrieve it, according to a police report.
“She came back a second time to serve them with food or drinks and brushed up against (the woman) again,” Helgerson said. “That infuriated the suspect.”
The server tried to walk away, but the situation turned violent.
“All four of them got out of the table and began to assault the waitress,” Helgerson said, one of them grabbing a steak knife.
Fellow diners stepped in to break up the fight, and the women ran out of the restaurant with the stolen tips, according to police. They were seen leaving the restaurant parking lot in a white Infiniti SUV.
Police were called about 11:30 p.m. The waitress was taken to Piedmont Henry Hospital, where she was treated for the stab wound and other abrasions and released.
Applebee’s told Channel 2 Action News that providing a safe environment for servers and guests is the restaurant chain’s “top priority.”
“The server who was injured in this incident returned to work the next day and we are happy to report that she is doing well,” a spokesman for the company said in a statement. “Our local franchisee’s team is continuing to work with authorities regarding this matter.”