An employee at a Minneapolis McDonald's said "I was fighting for my life" as a drunken drive-up customer, apparently angered by slow service, kept a death grip on the worker's tie and choked him until police arrived.

The tussle erupted Monday night at the McDonald's on Stinson Boulevard in the Quarry shopping district, according to police.

A 67-second video of the struggle was shot by a customer who was next in line. It was posted on and zoomed past 123,000 views by Wednesday evening.

Police arrested the suspect, a 31-year-old Minneapolis man, cited him for misdemeanor assault and then released him.

The employee, 22-year-old Bernard Robinson III, of Minneapolis, said Wednesday that he suffered bruises on his neck but declined to seek medical attention. Robinson, the overnight shift manager at the 24-hour McDonald's, said a member of his crew needed to make change for the customer's $100 bill.

"I guess the guy was ticked that it took so long" for him to get his change for the $3 tab, Robinson said. "He was blabbing, and the change was dropping out of his hand."

That's when the man "got of the car, looked in my eyes and spit in my face. I'm arguing with the guy, one of my crew tries to close the window, and he pushes it open.

"He grabbed my tie, and he's trying to get me out of the window. He was choking me. … I was fighting for my life."

Police arrived, and only then did the customer calm down, Robinson said.

Despite aching from the assault, Robinson stuck it out and finished his shift at 6 a.m.

"I'm icing up right now," he said, 40 hours later. "I guess I should've gone to the hospital."

The customer who shot the video posted a summary explaining that he was on his way home from his Monday night curling league.

"At first I was annoyed the guy in front of me was taking so long," he wrote. "He seemed pretty upset to begin with, but it looked like when the McDonald's guy handed him his cash and change back he dropped some of the dude's change. That's when he got out of his car, spit on the drive-through window and tried to punch the McDonald's [worker] and that's when I started recording."

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482