Meineke Car Care Centers pledged to give back to veterans by offering them a free oil change at participating locations on Veteran’s Day this year, but one veteran felt slighted when he couldn’t be accommodated.
Veteran Josh Storey went to a Meineke store in Lauderhill, Florida, on Nov. 11 hoping for a free oil change, but he and his wife, Nicole Storey, told Local 10 News that he was turned away at the door.
"Right off the bat the guy said it was appointment only," Josh said. "'We're booked up today. We're done.’"
Josh asked for a rain check, but the employee said he couldn’t provide one. Suspicious, Josh sent his wife Nicole to see if she elicited the same response.
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"He said, 'Are you with the vets?'" she said. "I said, 'No.' He said, 'Well, about 20 minutes.’"
Nicole was furious.
"Oh, so you're turning away veterans on Veterans Day to make money?" she allegedly told an employee.
She snapped a photo of a sign on the door, which read, "Our Veterans Day oil changes are fully booked!"
"I feel I can speak for most veterans when I say we’re not mad, we’re sad and disappointed," Josh added. “It was just an oil change. It was a $25-$30 oil change. I could have paid for it, but the bays were empty. Why would you say no to me and yes to her when she’s not a vet?"
The company offered rain checks for the free oil check, but neither Josh nor other vets who went to that location received them.
"A lot of veterans left upset. trust me, I (saw) them," an unnamed technician told Local 10 News. "I got a door slammed, had a curse word said to me. We were sorry we couldn't help, but it's a business and I don't know what else to say.”
The technician said that they did give away 50 free oil changes that day and the store’s owner, Hector Osorio, said there was a misunderstanding.
"I regret what happened," Osorio added.
Though Josh might not have been alone in his experiences, some veterans were reportedly happy with their service.
One Facebook user using the name Mimosa OneGold from Portland, Oregon, wrote on Meineke’s Facebook page that she saw a vet walk in with donuts to thank the store’s manager for the free oil changes.
“He couldn't get his done as they did 77 oil changes and gave out an additional 26 vouchers for veterans to come back,” she wrote. “So the owner who owns 5 stores in this area honored it.”
Meineke’s president, Daniel Rivera, told Local News 10 that he hopes to rectify the situation. Though Nicole was offered another free oil change, she says that isn’t enough.
"How these companies are promoting this stuff and turning away our veterans, where if it wasn't for them they wouldn't have a business," she added.