A New Hampshire lunch lady has been fired after serving food to a boy who owed money, Yahoo Lifestyle reports.
Bonnie Kimball had been serving lunches at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan for the past five years. She says that in that time, she and her colleagues, as well as the 300-plus kids who attend the school, have become like an extended family. Not only does she serve them food, but she also listens to them talk about their lives.
And when a student couldn’t pay for his meal because he didn’t have any money on his pre-paid commissary account, she let it slide.
That reportedly cost her her job.
The problem seems to have stemmed, at least in part, from her school changing contracts with food service managers. It seems that the school’s contract with Cafe Services is set to expire, and a new vendor, The Abbey Group, was considering taking over. And so it was that on March 28, The Abbey Group had sent over a district manager to keep an eye on things.
Unfortunately, Kimball was done in by bad timing. As the observer came over to watch the procedures at the register, she discovered that one of the students didn’t have any money on his account. She let him have a meal anyway.
Students and staff are rallying behind a Mascoma Valley Regional High School lunch lady fired for allowing a boy to run up an $8 lunch debt rather than go hungy. Bonnie Kimball thought she was doing the right thing and the parent did eventually pay. https://t.co/y65rc8oGjX pic.twitter.com/eds9teHG2m— UnionLeader.com (@UnionLeader) May 15, 2019
As Kimball told the New Hampshire Union Leader, she said she was under orders from her boss at the time to “not cause any scenes,” so she (Kimball) simply told the boy to tell his mom he needs money to pay for the $8 worth of food he’d selected from the a la carte menu items.
The next day the student showed up with the money to pay off the bill. But that wasn’t enough for Kimball’s managers; she was let go for theft for giving away the food.
Cookie Hebert, chairman of Mascoma Valley Regional School Board, said that district policy is that students without money on their commissary accounts get lunch anyway.
“The policy is that the student be fed. There’s no refusal.”
The problem is that the policy specifies that kids without money get fed whatever is being served from the regular line that day, and not a la carte items. Kimball let the boy walk away with a la carte items, violating policy.
Regardless, at least two of Kimball’s colleagues have quit in protest, and townsfolk and students are rallying behind her as well. Meanwhile, the school district voted to renew its contract with Cafe Services, the subcontractor that fired Kimball in the first place.