Two fast food employees have been fired after one of them refused to serve a police officer who wanted to order food from the establishment.
The incident occurred at the Cook Out restaurant in Roxboro, North Carolina when Kenneth Horton, an army vet and veteran police officer, visited the chain restaurant and was denied service by the cashier.
"We're saddened that an employee denied service to a police officer. We promote unity. The public here knows that. And, unfortunately, this incident has created a divide but it is only because of a small action that could have been avoided," said Roxboro Police Chief David Hess when he sat down in an interview with ABC’s Raleigh-Durham station WTVD.
Word of Horton’s encounter at the Cook Out allegedly spread through Roxboro and on social media before it got back to senior level Cook Out employees who then took the unilateral decision to terminate the employment of both the cashier and the restaurant manager.
"We did not contact corporate directly asking them to fire this employee. Cook Out took it upon themselves to take action," said Chief Hess.
The manager, a mother of 4 who had worked at Cook Out for 10 years but wished to not be identified, said that she wishes the employee would have asked her to come to the front to take the officer’s order instead of asking another cashier to do it.
"If a cashier doesn't feel comfortable taking somebody elses order, it's not wrong for them to ask somebody else do it or contact the manager," the former manager told WTVD.
It is still unclear as to why the cashier did not want to serve Horton in the first place. But, the day after the incident occurred, she was fired by the district manager along with the cashier.
“[The district manager] told me that I should have went outside and got the officer’s attention and, I guess, offered to take his order,” she told WTVD.
The former manager explained that she would not have felt safe going outside to take the officer’s order having not been directly involved in the incident herself and not knowing the circumstances.
"I'm mad. I'm pissed. I was hurt,” said the former manager. “I just got to find something else. I got bills, kids and Christmas is coming up."
Neither Horton nor anybody from Cook Out have yet to issue a statement regarding the incident.