A 23-year-old New York woman says she was fired from her job at McDonald's after personally paying for the meals of local firefighters.
Heather Levia says that she was working her normal shift last week when firefighters in Olean, N.Y. ordered 25 breakfast items for $83. The first responders were working in sub-zero temperatures that morning to put out a house fire, so Levia thought that paying for their hot meals was the right thing to do.
“Just because I appreciate everything they do,” said Levia.
Later on in her shift, a different fire department that was also out working on the same fire came in to order food that totaled $70. Levia thought that McDonald’s might be willing to pay for the first responders’ food because they regularly give free meals to police officers, so she sent a text to her boss asking if it was allowed. Her boss responded with a stern no.
So, instead of allowing the firefighters to pay for their food, Levia and her fellow workers split the bill among themselves. After that, she heard from her unhappy boss, who reportedly said, “You opened a whole bee’s nest.”
Levia came to her job of eight years the next day like she normally would, but when she arrived, her boss was waiting for her. She was immediately told that she could no longer work at McDonald's, but the reason her boss gave her was that she swore at her supervisor. Levia denies this claim.
“I did say this is ‘freaking’ ridiculous. But it was not implied to anybody,” she said.
“It’s just wrong,” continued Levia. “I wish the communities would change and help each other out. I wish that things didn’t have to be the way they are. And if losing my job is going to speak out to the community, then that’s what it’s going to do.”
The owner of the Olean McDonald’s did make a statement regarding Levia’s termination and claims that her accusations are false.
“The Meyers Organization has always valued the employees who serve our customers every day,” said owner Tom Meyers. “We likewise continue to be an ardent supporter of our police and fire departments, along with other first responders. They are always welcome in our restaurants, and we will continue to support them in the future. We are aware that certain allegations have been made concerning the reasons for Heather Levia’s termination. Out of respect for Ms. Levia and her privacy, it would not be appropriate to comment in detail on the reasons she is no longer employed by our organization. Still, it should be pointed out that the allegations are absolutely not true. We would never penalize an employee for showing appropriate gratitude for the work of our firefighters.”
Levia says she has received a lot of support from the community and has already been offered a few different jobs since her story went public.