GREENWICH VILLAGE — A busboy trained in mixed martial arts said he fearlessly fought a disruptive teen in the Silver Spurs restaurant who then slashed him across the face.
"I was never scared. I was just shocked when I felt my hand touch my face and it was full of blood," said the busboy, Bobby Barbot, 25.
Barbot was in the restaurant at 490 LaGuardia Place, near West Houston Street, about 8 p.m. Wednesday when the teen started asking people to donate money to his basketball team, an NYPD spokesman said.
Barbot asked the teen, who looked about 15 to 17 and wore braces on his teeth, to leave, police said.
"He was just quiet, straight ignoring me," Barbot said. "He said, ' What are you gonna do?'"
The boy took a swing at Barbot who then "knocked him out," sending him careening to the ground, the busboy said.
The teen warned him, "I'll be back. And I don't like the way you talked to me," according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.
He went down to Houston Street to grab what appeared to be a box cutter with a red handle and a six-inch black blade and returned five minutes later, Barbot said.
The busboy tried to bar him from the vestibule, but he made it inside and lunged for him, dragging the blade across his face, partially puncturing his cheek, the busboy said.
"I didn't feel nothing. I heard the blade smack my cheek. I just feel lucky he didn't hit my neck," Barbot said.
Police were still hunting for the teen as of Thursday afternoon, NYPD officials said.
"It was horrible," said his girlfriend, Nicole Fontanez, 27.
"I went into a quick panic mode. I didn't know what to do. I just rushed to his side," she said.
After the attack, Barbot was recuperating at his Bronx apartment that he shares with Fontanez, her 9-year-old son Angel, and her mother, they said.
"He's a fighter, though. He'll be good. He's doing well. He was just saying, 'I'll see you next week.' He wants to come back to work," said coworker Kiki Bourekas, who spoke to the victim after the attack.
"He's terrific with everyone. He's always on time. He just tries to do the right thing," Bourekas added.
Barbot is especially kind to elderly neighbors of Silver Spurs and would watch their pets when they were away, visit them in bad weather and help them visit the restaurant.
"I'm sick about what happened to him. I am not surprised because he is that kind of man. He's brave," said neighbor Janet Kalogiannakis.
"He's like everybody's son in the neighborhood."
Barbot, who frequently takes care of his girlfriend's son, is trained in mixed martial arts, has fought in some amateur bouts and hopes to one day pursue a professional fighting career, he said.
The teen was carrying a purple folder and a small gym bag and had not been arrested as of Thursday morning, police said.
He was at large Thursday, but Barbot was confident he'd recognize him if he was ever caught.
"I could always picture a face," he said.