Crowded restaurant in Maryland remains open after customer in restroom dies
A crowded restaurant in Prince George’s County, Maryland, remained open and continued to serve customers after a customer attending a family reunion died in the women’s bathroom on Wednesday.
A family was dining at Jasper’s restaurant in the town of Upper Marlboro and had just paid the bill when one of them went to the bathroom, one of the owners, Fred Rosenthal, told NBC News.
“She went to the women’s bathroom and when the family members got up to leave and she hadn’t come back, they went to see her,” Rosenthal said. “Someone found her unconscious, notified our employees and we responded and called 911. Police arrived within minutes.”
Prince George’s County Police Department officers responded to a crowded Jasper restaurant at 9640 Lottsford Court around 6:40 p.m. Wednesday evening to investigate, spokesman Brian Fischer said.
Jasper’s did not close when the situation unfolded and continued to welcome customers. A curtain barrier was installed around the women’s toilets where the family gathered, and the men’s toilets were converted to unisex toilets.
“The hindsight is 20/20, we didn’t know it would take the coroner two hours to recover the body,” Rosenthal said of the decision to keep the restaurant open. “If we had, we would have stopped seating people. We were trying to keep it as respectful as possible and not cause a scene.”
The coroner’s office arrived at the restaurant to remove the body around 9 p.m., more than two hours after police responded to the location, according to Rosenthal. The body was taken out of a side entrance so as not to disturb other diners. Jasper remained open until midnight Wednesday, continuing to welcome diners until then.
The woman died of natural causes, according to Maryland’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Rosenthal has since met with family members of the woman.
“They came to celebrate and plan a family reunion and it ended in a terrible event,” he said.
This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com