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"It was wrong, completely. I felt wrong as soon as I did it," Shakeen Robbins, 28, said on the video. "I would like to apologize ... to let him know I never viewed him as a lesser person. Let us try to figure out how to work through it.”
Robbins was working at the Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant in Syracuse, New York, on Sunday night, and admitted to dumping a pitcher of water on Jeremy Dufresne, who said he was charging his cellphone to call his mother. He had put his head down on the table when he was doused with cold water, Syracuse.com reported.
A co-worker recorded the incident, which immediately went viral and sparked protests by Syracuse residents and resulted in Robbins being fired by Dunkin’ Donuts. Laughter can be heard.
Robbins, who is engaged and has two small children, apologized on a video posted to YouTube.
Robbins said he was homeless five years ago and could relate to Dufresne’s situation. He told Syracuse.com that he had conversations with the homeless man and offered him food.
"We'd have conversations about sports, girls, how to better himself," Robbins told Syracuse.com.
Five days before the Sunday night incident, Robbins said Dufresne began to cause trouble, refusing to wake up when nudged.
Robbins said he had already pushed a couple that had been fighting out of the store Sunday night. When he saw Dufresne with his head down on the table, Robbins said he became frustrated after a difficult shift.
“I just got frustrated dealing with the situation of multiple pedestrians coming in there, waving weapons, making mayhem out of the situation,” Robbins said in the video. “And just dealing with Jeremy as a person, I kind of got a little frustrated and took it too far.”
Dufresne's mother, Bobbie Jo Richardson, did not accept the apology, Syracuse.com reported.
"It doesn't matter if he is sorry," Richardson said.
Robbins, who said he has not talked to Dufresne since the incident, said he'd like to do community service and work with a homeless outreach group, like Al-amin Muhammad's "Sandwich Saturdays," Syracuse.com reported. Muhammad said Robbins would be welcome to help out.