A New Jersey waitress was fired after she made a comment to customers about leaving their dog in the hot car.
Cristal Perez, 23, was working as a waitress at the Longhorn Steakhouse in Millville, New Jersey, last week when the dog’s owners came in to eat, the Press of Atlantic City reported. Perez expressed her concern for the dog, reportedly noting that it was “wrong” to leave the dog in the car and that the couple was “lucky to be leaving before the cops came.”
Perez said that she wasn’t the only person in the restaurant who was concerned for the dog. She apparently heard two other customers call city police in regards to the dog.
“[The dog] was pretty active,” Perez told the Press of Atlantic City. “He was panting pretty heavily. It looked like he was having an anxiety attack.”
Before leaving, the couple apparently complained about Perez’s comments to management, which resulted in a four day suspension for Perez. When she returned to work on Sunday, she had been fired for violating a policy about giving customers a good dining experience.
Longhorn communications manager Hunter Robinson noted that the animal had actually been sitting in a car with the air conditioning on.
“The dog was never in any danger,” Robinson said. “The police never came.”
Robinson added that while the company wants its customers to feel comfortable dining, employees should report any illegal or unethical behavior to a manager. From there, it’s the manager’s responsibility to take care of the issue.
PETA has since come forward in defense of Perez.
Dan Carron, PETA Outreach Coordinator, noted that a citizen performing a compassionate act for an animal should be rewarded, not punished. Carron added that Perez should be looked at as a hero.
Photo Credit: Edward Lea/Press of Atlantic City