'Power Rangers' save woman being attacked in Calif. restaurant
Employees in costumes based on the children's show fended off an attacker who was allegedly choking a woman in the middle of the restaurant
By Brooke Baitinger
The Charlotte Observer
OAKLAND, Calif. — Employees at a new restaurant in California’s Bay Area became true crime-fighting superheroes on Friday — and not only because they were dressed up as Power Rangers.
The restaurant crew sprang into action to fend off an attacker accused of choking a woman in the middle of the dining room at Noka Ramen in Oakland, according to a viral Twitter thread from a customer who said she was having dinner there during the incident on Friday, Oct. 14.
“The craziest thing just happened at dinner,” Ploi Pirapoken wrote on Twitter. “I’m at a ramen shop owned by Thai people in Oakland dressed as power rangers, when a woman comes rushing in saying she isn’t safe — and a man came running in after her and puts her in a chokehold.”
Pirapoken, a fiction writer and essayist on imperialism in Asia, explained the servers were dressed as Power Rangers because the ramen-fusion restaurant’s main cocktail is The Noka Rangers, and is served in Power Rangers mugs.
She says once the woman in the chokehold expressed that she was not safe and didn’t want to go home with the man holding her in the chokehold, the people dressed as the black and yellow Power Rangers told him to leave.
“He swung at them,” Pirapoken wrote. “This is when all rangers yelled ‘Huey!’,” which Pirapoken explained is “the Thai expression of the Cantonese ‘Waaah,’ the Korean ‘Yaaa’ and the English, ‘the f***?’”
The person dressed as the yellow ranger stood in front of the black ranger and blocked the punch, Pirapoken said. Someone told the woman to hide in the kitchen, she said.
“The man starts calling everyone Asian slurs,” and he lunged toward the kitchen, Pirapoken said. “YellowRanger grabs him by the collar to drag him out of the restaurant,” while the attacker kicked and hurled punches, she wrote.
Inside, restaurant patrons called the cops, Pirapoken said. Outside, the man is “picking up chairs, baby seats & salt + pepper shakers to throw at the windows,” according to Pirapoken’s thread.
Pirapoken said the man came back inside with another person. “More swings are swung, more power rangers pile onto the men at the door to lock them out. Locking us in.”
That’s around the time police showed up, Pirapoken said.
Oakland Police confirmed the incident via email. Public Information Officer Candance Keas said the man was “having a mental health crisis and threatening (the restaurant’s) patrons.“ Officers took him into custody and to an area mental health facility, Keas said.
The woman in the chokehold was taken to an area hospital, Keas said.
The restaurant posted about the incident on Instagram and shared a photo of the staff dressed in their Power Rangers getup.
“Our NōKA Rangers were real life heroes last night when an incident occurred. Like our heroic namesakes, it’s not just the powers and costumes that give us strength. It’s who and what we are inside that empowers us,” the post read.
The restaurant wrote on Instagram that “While we’re proud of our team for going above and beyond in our time of need, we would like to assure our guests that this event is an anomaly at our restaurant. The safety of our guests and employees is of utmost importance to us.”
The business is cooperating with police to identify the individual involved, according to the Instagram post.
“There’s no sense, moral or meaning to this story, except that I can’t believe power rangers are actually Thai?” Pirapoken wrote. “I’m grateful no guns were involved. And the food at Noka Ramen was excellent.”