Inconsolable, friends and family of Kristal Bayron-Nieves gathered at the funeral home at East 104th Street to say goodbye.
“She was always happy trying to make a change for the better. She wanted to work to buy a car and go to college,” Nairelys Figueroa said.
A friend, Nairelys Figueroa, explains Bayron-Nieves had complained to her manager at the Burger King that she wanted a less dangerous dayshift and was moving to that the next week when the teenage cashier was shot and killed at work.
At gunpoint, the teenager had quickly handed over cash – but was shot anyway.
“That was her last week working the night shift,” Figueroa said.
“She was scared and said that she didn’t want to go to work that day,” cousin Melissa Quiles said. “It’s just heartbreaking.”
All who knew her describe Bayron-Nieves as a hard worker, who was saving to buy a car and apply to nursing school.
Bayron-Nieves moved to New York from Puerto Rico with her mother and younger brother two years ago.
Friends brought balloons spelling out Bayron-Nieves’ name to the wake.
Services move this week to Puerto Rico for the funeral and burial there Friday into Saturday.
The farewell comes one day after the teen’s mother spoke out, issuing a plea to hold all those responsible for her daughter’s murder accountable.
Kristie Nieves Montalvo was emotional as she spoke with the family’s attorney by her side on Monday.
She thanked police for making a quick arrest and thanked the people of New York for their well-wishes, prayers and support.
But now she wants justice.
With tears in her eyes, Bayron-Nieves’ mother called on Burger King to step up safety for its workers.
She also urged the judge in the case to sentence 30-year-old Winston Glynn, who has been charged with the teen’s murder, to life in prison.
“This person took my life, I don’t want him out of jail again, maybe my daughter is not the first one who died this way, but I want my daughter to be the last,” mother Nieves Montalvo said through a translator.
The victim was working to help her mother pay the bills.
“This shouldn’t happen to my daughter, I work in fast food too, I don’t want to go back, I’m scared,” Nieves Montalvo said.
The President of the New York State Latino Restaurant Owners Group is angry about the emotional and financial burden Bayron-Nieves’ family bears.
“A restaurant failed this family. Burger King did not have adequate security and when the employee expressed concerns about her safety they should’ve had security – other restaurants have to put security all the time,” Arelia Taveras said.
Glynn was arrested just days later and charged with murder.
“We now look to the prosecutors in this case to convict this perpetrator and to the judge in the case to sentence him to life in prison,” said family attorney Sanford Rubenstein.
Rubenstein is also looking at the possibility of suing Burger King, the property owner and anyone else responsible for security at the business.