New York McDonald’s worker Heather Levia was fired for treating hungry firefighters to a warm meal after being out in the cold on an emergency call. Levia, 23, is a mother of twins and works two jobs while putting herself through nursing school. Last week several local fire departments spent hours in sub-zero temperatures while putting out a house fire.
City of Olean firefighters orders 25 breakfast sandwiches and hash browns for their crew after the fire call. Levia paid the $83 tab herself. “Just because I appreciate everything they do,” the McDonald’s worker said. It is not uncommon, at least in small towns, for restaurants to treat first responders who come into the restaurant after an emergency call.
A little later in the morning members of another fire department who had responded to the same call came into the New York McDonald’s and proceeded to order $70 worth of breakfast food. The nursing student texted her boss to see if the company would foot the bill this time. Levia thought they would since the restaurant has reportedly been known to give complimentary meals to police officers who stop by. “It’s very common in our store,” the now former staffer told local media.
The Oleans McDonald’s manager said no to donating food to the tired, cold, and hungry firefighters. Levia then checked with the corporate office, who opted out of the deal as well. Once again, the woman and her co-workers chipped in and paid for the firefighters’ meals.
Once word about the McDonald’s workers, Levia in particular, had paid the bill when the store management said no, the backlash began. Some firefighters called the Oleans store manager and complained that Levia and the others had felt compelled to cover the cost of the breakfasts. The boss allegedly later told the young mother that she had “opened a whole bee’s nest.”
During her next scheduled shift, Levia was fired. The reason for the termination stems from accusations that she had sworn at a supervisor. Levia denies the claims and maintains that all she said aloud to no one in particular was that the firefighter breakfast situation was, “freaking ridiculous.”
The firefighters said that they did not expect free food from McDonald’s, but they were sure were appreciative of the gesture.
Allegany Fire Media Officer Gordon Scott had this to say about Heather Levia losing her job:
“It was a shock. We certainly regret the fact she lost her job. We can’t speak on corporate policy because we don’t know the background of it. It was a sad affair because a gentleman lost a home. And it’s even worse because we know now that this gal apparently lost her job because of it.”
The charitable, and now jobless nursing student had this say about being fired from McDonald’s:
“It’s just wrong. I wish the communities would change and help each other out. I wish that things didn’t have to be the way they are. And if losing my job is going to speak out to the community, then that’s what it’s going to do.”
The management maintains that an employee would never be fired for “showing appropriate gratitude” for firefighters.
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