Two hearse drivers in Florida have lost their jobs after making what one could only say was, at best, an “ill-advised” stop at a New Port Richey Dunkin’ Donuts while toting around the flag-covered casket of deceased Army veteran Ltc. Jesse Coleman.
At worst, people are furious and looking at the act as one of utter disrespect to the memory of Coleman, who died at the age of 84 after a rich military career that included one tour in Korea, two tours in Vietnam, and numerous medals.
The travesty went viral after a man outside the Dunkin’ Donuts noticed the coffin in the back and snapped a photo that soon went viral (pictured above).
Rob Carpenter told ABC Action News that he was appalled by the men’s decision to stop for coffee. He was so outraged, in fact, that he waited around for the men to return so he could confront them.
“I’m like, ‘Is this really a body in here? and he says, ‘Yes,’ and I said, ‘So you have a dead soldier in the back of your hearse and you’re stopping to get coffee?’ And he didn’t say anything,” Carpenter said.
“It was very upsetting and very disrespectful to this soldier and their family.”
Jim Rudolph, owner of Clearwater’s Veteran’s Funeral Care, was appalled by the lack of judgment in spite of the fact that the two hearse drivers — who are brothers in their 70s and themselves the sons of veterans — were long-time employees and “good workers.”
Rudolph continued in comments to NBC Miami.
“To us, it’s a big deal. We are proud of what we do. We love our customers…. When you’re in a loaded car, you should leave, you should be coffeed up. Do everything you need to do and drive really ceremoniously…. They were good employees and didn’t want to go out like this. In this business, you can’t have a redo, if you tarnish someone’s memory.”
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of veteran disrespect in the news as of late, and much of it with greater animosity than what the two hearse drivers showed here.
Take this story about the frat brothers, who spit on a veteran at a Wounded Warriors retreat and then urinated on the American flag.
What do you think, readers? Should acts of disrespect towards our men and women in uniform — as the fraternity and these hearse drivers have shown — be considered crimes? Sound off in the comments section.