Donald Bridgett, manager of the Burger King at 306 Southern Ave. SE, was working late Wednesday night when he noticed a familiar figure -- a former fellow student in junior high school -- at the fast food counter.

The 28-year-old Bridgett said he was about to speak ot his schoolmate from Johnson Junior High School when the schoolmate suddenly pointed a gun at him and forced him back into the office.

There, the schoolmate and a compnion, who was also armed with a gun, ordered Bridgett to open the safe. Bridgett said he initially refused and tried to talk the two out of robbing the restaurant.

"I told him it really wasn't worth it," Bridgett said yesterday. "I guess it was a foolish thing on my part."

He said one of the intruders said he would get a female employee to open the safe. Since he didn't want any of the women involved, Bridgett said he opened the safe himself.

Just as he was opening the safe, one of the robbers shot him in the left leg. "It all happened so fast," said Bridgett.

The robbers took more than $700 from the safe and then fled, police said.

Bridgett was taken to Greater Southeast Community Hospital, where he was listed in fair condition yesterday.