Senior citizen food fight injures 3
No charges filed in scuffle over lettuce at retirement home salad bar
By STEVEN N. LEVINE
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WINTER HAVEN - A brawl at the salad bar at Spring Haven Retirement Community sent three senior citizens to Winter Haven Hospital Sunday.
Administrators say a 62-year-old resident who threw the first punch will leave the senior residence. All participants waived criminal action in the incident. No serious injuries were reported.
"This is the first time in 25 years I've ever heard of something like this happening," said a shaken Jill Andrew, Spring Haven spokeswoman.
According to police, the battle erupted after fellow diners accused the man of foraging among the lettuce leaves on the salad bar. Words were exchanged leading to the ballroom boxing match. Witnesses say the man punched an 86-year-old accuser in the face and bit a 78-year-old resident on the right arm.
The man's 80-plus-year-old mother told police that her son, "only likes a certain kind of lettuce." Others accused him of playing with the salad greens while inspecting the crop. His mom conceded, "that it did appear that he was playing with the food."
She was slightly injured trying to help her son during the struggle, police said.
The lettuce lecture was actually the last straw in a lengthy history of bad blood, Andrew said. At least one resident was injured when he was knocked to the ground by diners fleeing the battleground, according to police.