A McDonald’s employee in Florida refused to serve a uniformed police officer who pulled up to the drive-thru in an unmarked car Friday.
When 23-year veteran of the Palm Bay Police Department, Lt. Tim Lancaster, drove up to the window of his local McDonald’s during his lunch, he was served with an eyeful and earful of disrespect – instead of a stomach-full of burgers, fries and soda.
“Completely shocked and disappointed,” Lancaster posted on Facebook later that day. “I have been working in law enforcement for over 20 years and never thought I would personally experience what just occurred at the drive-thru at the McDonald’s at Palm Bay Road and Babcock Street.”
Tasty food, disgusting service
Instead of being greeted with a smile, thank you and the aroma of steaming fries, the officer was snubbed and sneered at.
“I ordered my lunch, paid at the first window and moved up to the second window to pick up lunch,” Lancaster continued. “When I got to the window, the clerk looked at me with my drink in hand and stopped. For the record, I am in full uniform and an unmarked car. She handed my drink to another clerk and walked away in disgust.”
Not understanding what was going on, the veteran officer asked for an explanation at the window while waiting for his lunch.
“I asked the other clerk what was wrong, [and] she stayed [sic] that the other clerk refuses to serve cops,” Lancaster recounted. “I was embarrassed and upset. After a while, I called the store and spoke to Omar. He identified himself as the general manager, and said he would address it.”
A proper response?
In unbelief and dissatisfied with McDonald’s handling of the incident in the following days, Lancaster vowed to never visit America’s largest burger chain again and asked those reading his Facebook post – which received thousands of shares – to spread the word.
However, he is still hopeful that the fast food giant will get its act together and not tolerate customers whose lives are dedicated to protect and serve their community.
“Lancaster on Sunday … [said] that he believes McDonald’s will ultimately do the right thing,” Breitbart News reported. “[T]he restaurant’s general manager [reportedly] refused comment and directed all inquiries to the corporate office.”
McDonald’s Spokesperson Carolina Rodriguez told the local paper that the snubbing employee’s behavior behind the drive-thru window was “unacceptable.”
“We have respect for all first responders and are investigating,” Rodriguez expressed in a statement issued to Florida Today on Sunday. “The behavior described in this Facebook post is unacceptable and not tolerated in our restaurants.”
Lancaster is confident that McDonald’s will take the appropriate action and properly address the situation so that fellow officers will not have to go through the same indignation he just experienced.
“I think they’ll handle it appropriately,” the law enforcement officer told Florida Today on Sunday. “I was shocked – that’s a good word. I never thought I’d be at a point in my career when I’d see something like this.”
Lancaster – who has served the community for years via various outreach programs – also shared his appreciation for those standing by his side over the matter nationwide after his Facebook post.
“[My fellow police officers and I have received] overwhelming support,” Lancaster shared with Florida Today. “It’s very humbling.”
Not the first, hopefully the last
Law enforcement officers have experienced similar acts of disrespect at McDonald’s and other restaurants across the nation in recent times.
It is yet to be seen exactly what kind of disciplinary measures will be enacted as a result of Lancaster’s recent run-in with the disrespectful McDonald’s drive-thru employee.
“Neither McDonald's nor the general manager of the McDonald’s, Omar Perez, would confirm the status of the employee involved in the incident,” Florida Today’s J.D. Gallop reported.
Where’s the gratitude?
Ironically, the incident occurred at a McDonald’s that has a history of appreciating policemen who serve those in their neighborhood.
“The same restaurant has in the past hosted Palm Bay Police Department’s ‘Coffee with a Cop’ community outreach program – an effort by police to better connect with residents,” Gallop noted.
And when criminal activity took place at the burger franchise in the not-too-distant past, it was Lancaster’s Palm Bay Police Department who McDonald’s turned to when seeking justice over the offence.
“Officers were also called to the location in December to investigate a burglary at the older, former restaurant in the same plaza after Perez and others noticed over $80,000 in grills and fryers missing,” Gallop added. “An investigation is ongoing into that case.”