A 73-year-old Vietnam veteran was recently fired from a Florida Cracker Barrel restaurant after giving a company corn muffin to a customer.
Joe Koblenzer worked at Cracker Barrel for more than three years and had given food out to customers for free four times before the incident, according to a statement from Cracker Barrel.
Koblenzer said he gave the corn muffin to a man because he looked like he had “fallen on hard times,” according to the Daily Mail.
“He looked a little needy,” Koblenzer said to ABC 7. “He asked if I had any mayonnaise and some tartar sauce. He said he was going to cook a fish.”
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Koblenzer said he got the man the sauces and then added in a corn muffin to be nice.
After that, the restaurant manager called Koblenzer and fired him for violating the company policy another time.
“It's a rule,” Koblenzer said. “They legally can do this because I did break the rule. I completely forgot about it. I am a host at Cracker Barrel with a little above minimum wage job.”
Koblenzer said he has been reprimanded previously for making himself a fountain drink while he was working and for giving a customer a cup of coffee, though he said he paid for the drink.
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He said he misses his regular customers and the employees he met through the job. Koblenzer added that he misses earning stars on his apron for good performance.
“At 73, I was really proud of doing this,” he said. “I was really proud of getting those stars.”
The incident has sparked an online debate about whether Koblenzer was fired for legitimate reasons.
“I feel badly,” Koblenzer said. “It shines a bad light on the company. I would not want that on any company, but it happened.”
Penny Robinson Hockey, Koblenzer’s niece, said she thinks that Cracker Barrel was completely wrong to fire him.
“He is truly such a wonderful and friendly guy,” she said. “He was such a joy to those he greeted at CB. They wronged him in the worst possible way!! Shame on Cracker Barrel!! I will never step foot into one again.”
Another commenter, Mike Cecil, said he thinks that Koblenzer should have respected the restaurant’s rules more.
“I worked at Cracker Barrel when they first opened,” Cecil said. “They were very strict about their products. I think it is horrible this vet lost his job over a muffin, but the store has rules. The food is their property. Where does the employer draw the line? Maybe next time it would be a sandwich, a full meal? He violated the policies he was well aware of.”
Koblenzer is looking for a new job.
Source: Daily Mail