The staff of a McDonald's have come under fire this week, after a customer complained the fast-food restaurant refused to sell her food to give to a homeless man.
Two women, Vijaya Martensson and her friend Anja Andorsen, were at a McDonald's in Stockholm, Sweden, on March 18, when the homeless individual approached them and asked if Martensson would buy him a meal. Martensson agreed and went to make the purchase.
But when she asked the staff to sell her a meal for the man, they refused, saying he'd been asked to leave for bothering customers.
According to Swedish outlet The Local, Christoffer Jornert, a McDonald's senior manager, said that any customer is welcome at their restaurant, and anyone who has purchased food is allowed to give that food to whomever they'd like.
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"In this particular case, the man who was going to get the food had been asked to leave the restaurant because he had been bothering our guests for hours and on several occasions tried to steal food from seated guests, which many had complained about," said Jornert in a statement.
Nevertheless, Martensson was angry the McDonald's refused her humanitarian request.
"That's not strange if you don't have anywhere else to get food. I said I did not care what he had done before and that I was going to buy food for a fellow human being who was hungry … How can McDonald's deny a person like me who earns their own money and chooses to give another human being food? What happened to Sweden's fairness and human rights?" Martensson told The Local.
Stymied at the counter, Martensson enlisted her friend Andorsen, who had been in the restroom.
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"She was just as angry as I was and asked if she was allowed to buy food for herself at least. 'Yes,' said the manager. So she bought a meal and gave it to the man anyway, " Martensson said.
Ultimately, the two women were able to make the purchase and then give it to the homeless man. But the resistance the two faced when trying to help a homeless man left them both questioning the integrity of a system that refuses to help the weakest and most vulnerable in society.
Jornert, the restaurant's manager agreed that the situation could have been handled better, but stood by his staff's actions.
"We had just called in security guards because the man had been aggressive towards both guests and staff and we did not want a confrontation inside the restaurant. We will of course follow up on the incident in more detail, and welcome everyone to eat and be at our restaurant, but we also have to ensure that our guests are allowed to eat in peace and quiet."