A Phenix City, Alabama, Taco Bell worker was fired for reportedly refusing service to two Sheriff’s deputies.
The wife of one of the deputies took to Facebook to share the story of her husband’s experience at the restaurant.
“My husband is a Deputy Sheriff in Lee County, Alabama and tonight a Deputy on his shift went into Taco Bell in Phenix City, AL and was told that they don't serve cops," Tammy Bush Mayo wrote in the post on July 16. "A lady waiting for her food spoke up to say that she was about to ask for a refund because she didn't want to eat somewhere with a cop.
“This really disturbs me that people have started treating law enforcement professionals in this manner when these same law enforcement professionals put their lives on the line every day to protect all people, including this woman with a very bad attitude at Taco Bell.
"We're going to research this further but if this is what Taco Bell allows to happen, they have lost my business and I hope others of you will do the same.”
Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones later confirmed the incident, releasing a statement to WVTM.
“I'm very disappointed that simply because they were uniformed law enforcement officers that our deputies were treated in such negative fashion," the statement read. "We pride ourselves in giving people basic respect and only ask the same in return. I am inclined to believe that this was the attitude of one employee and not the policy of the management. The fair thing is to give them an opportunity to respond.
“We won't base our opinion of Taco Bell on one employee's negative action any more than the general public should base their opinion of law enforcement on the negative action of one officer.”
Taco Bell corporate subsequently contacted the sheriff’s office regarding the incident, and spokesperson Laura Nedbal ultimately issued a statement.
“Taco Bell and Tacala, the franchise owner of the Phenix City Taco Bell, in no way endorse this sentiment," the statement read. "We are deeply appreciative of the men and women who have taken the oath to serve and protect our communities. Our franchisee has launched an investigation into this matter and will take appropriate action. Tacala will be reaching out directly to Deputy Sheriff Mayo and his wife Tammy Bush Mayo."
A second statement from Nedbal confirmed the firing.
“In the course of the investigation at the Taco Bell in Phenix City, Tacala, the franchise owner of that location, has terminated the employee who refused service to two Lee County Deputies on July 16th," the statement read. "Tacala has contacted the Lee County Sheriff’s Department to apologize directly to the two Deputies and assure them of their ongoing support of law enforcement."