The McDonald’s in Olean, N.Y., where 23-year-old single mom Heather Levia used to work routinely gives free meals to police officers, so Levia didn’t think anything of offering a complimentary breakfast to some firefighters who had just braved sub-zero temperatures to put out a house fire.
For the first group of firefighters that came in, Levia paid $83 out of her own pocket. When another group entered the restaurant, Levia texted her boss to ask if the store would cover the additional $70.
The boss said no, so she called the corporate office. No again. So she and other employees in the store gathered up the cash to pay for the food.
That led to a mass of confusion that eventually ended with Levia losing her job after eight years working at the McDonald’s. Local news channel WVIB reports
that firefighters called to complain, thinking that the restaurant had forced Levia to pay for their breakfast. Levia says her boss told her she had “opened a whole bees’ nest.”
The stated reason for Levia’s firing is that she swore at a superior, though she says she only said the situation was “freaking ridiculous.”
The owner of the Olean McDonald’s, Tom Meyers, issued this statement:
The Meyers Organization has always valued the employees who serve our customers every day. We likewise continue to be an ardent supporter of our police and fire departments, along with other first responders. They are always welcome in our restaurants, and we will continue to support them in the future.
We are aware that certain allegations have been made concerning the reasons for Heather Levia’s termination. Out of respect for Ms. Levia and her privacy, it would not be appropriate to comment in detail on the reasons she is no longer employed by our organization. Still, it should be pointed out that the allegations are absolutely not true. We would never penalize an employee for showing appropriate gratitude for the work of our firefighters.
McDonald’s Corp. has yet to acknowledge the situation, but the latest post on the company’s Facebook page
(about a coffee drink) is lighting up with comments about Levia’s firing.
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“What a horrible, nasty, company,” one commenter wrote. “Give Heather her job back.”