Cook Out, for those not familiar, is a regional burger chain with about 250 locations in 10 states, mostly in the Southeast. At a Roxboro, North Carolina, location last week, Kenneth Horton, an army vet and veteran police officer, showed up to grab some food, only to be denied service by the cashier. The cashier’s manager appears to have backed up the employee and declined to take the officer’s order.
Why the employee refused to serve Horton is not clear. However, not long after the refusal, word of the incident made its way around town on social media, and eventually, it got back to the company’s headquarters.
Roxboro Chief David Hess is clear that neither he, nor anyone in the town’s government, directly contacted Cook Out headquarters about the incident. Regardless, the company did hear about it, and they later announced that the cashier, as well as the manager who backed up the cashier, have both been let go.
“Cook Out took it upon themselves to take action,” Hess said.
Cook Out, for its part, has not publicly commented on the situation, as of this writing.
The former manager, who has not been identified, told a WTVD reporter that the cashier didn’t feel safe taking the officer’s order.
“If a cashier doesn’t feel comfortable taking someone’s order, it’s not wrong for them to have someone else do it or contact the manager,” she said.
However, by the time the manager got word of the situation, Horton, instead of asking to speak to a manager, had already gone outside.
The fired manager says that her superiors told her that she should have gone outside and gotten Horton’s attention. However, she says that if her employee didn’t feel safe taking Horton’s order, she (the manager) didn’t feel safe going outside to take his order.
This is not the first time that food-service employees have caused controversy by refusing to serve police officers. In fact, such stories pop up in the media rather routinely. For example, in July, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr, a Tempe, Arizona, Starbucks location caused a stir when a manager asked several police officers to leave because a customer complained of feeling “unsafe” with them in the room.
Back in North Carolina, the fired Cook Out manager is wondering what she’s going to do.
“I just got to find something else. I got bills, kids and Christmas is coming up,” she said.