A Florida Arby’s restaurant has fired its manager and suspended a clerk after a Pembroke Pines police officer claimed she was denied service at the restaurant.
Angel Mirabal, 22, is out of a job and 19-year-old Kenneth Davenport has been placed on indefinite suspension, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
The incident leading to the disciplinary action occurred Tuesday when Pembroke Pines Police Sgt. Jennifer Martin placed an order at the restaurant’s drive-thru speaker then had problems receiving her order at the window.
“He doesn’t want to serve you because you are a police officer,” Martin quoted Mirabal as saying, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
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Martin did eventually get her meal, and was offered a full refund.
Martin later reported the incident to her superiors.
“I am offended and appalled that an individual within our community would treat a police officer in such a manner,” Chief Dan Guistino said in a statement, according to Fox News.
“We are very proud of the partnerships we have built within our city, and for an incident like this to have happened is very disappointing for everyone,” he added.
Arby’s said in a statement sent to Fox that it would be looking into the matter.
“We take this isolated matter very seriously as we respect and support police officers in our local communities,” the statement read. “As soon as the issue was brought to our attention, our CEO spoke with the Police Chief who expressed his gratitude for our quick action and indicates the case is closed. We will be following up with our team members to be sure that our policy of inclusion is understood and adhered to.”
Davenport told the Sun-Sentinel that the whole thing was just a misunderstanding and a joke that was taken the wrong way.
Davenport said he was backed up at the drive-thru window and called his manager to help him ring up Martin’s order. That’s when Mirabal made the comment that Martin took exception to, but, Davenport insists, it was just a joke that backfired.
“We don't hate cops,” Davenport said Wednesday. “We don't hate anybody. We're just trying to get people out of the drive-thru.”
Mirabal could not be reached for comment, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
The incident has prompted an outpouring of support from the community.
Arby’s announced recently that it will be offering free food to police officers at all of its South Florida locations on Saturday, WSVN reports.
And a Pembroke Pines McDonald’s partnered with a local radio station to deliver pancakes and breakfast sandwiches to the department earlier this week.
As for Davenport, he doesn’t know if he will have a job when he comes off suspension.
“He came home somewhat depressed, but somewhat has an outlook that he might return to Arby's at a later date,” Davenport’s grandfather, Thomas McCutcheon, told WSVN.
“The management wrote down all that he had to say, and decided that they will make a decision later on if they will permanently terminate him or if he's just suspended,” he added. “All I want to do is clear his name and to get an apology in paper that he did not cause this problem.”
“His life is just starting, and a black mark against him is not going to help,” McCutcheon told the Sun-Sentinel. “He is a shy kid.”
Photo credit: Department photo via WSVN News