73-Year-Old Veteran Says He Was Fired From Cracker Barrel For Giving A Muffin To A Needy Person

(gumbyliberation)

(gumbyliberation)

No business could survive on a model that allows employees to give away its products willy nilly, but does a few free condiment packets a corn muffin mean someone should lose their job? A73-year-old greeter at a Florida Cracker Barrel says he’s out of work after passing a muffin, a tartar sauce and a mayo packet to someone who looked needy.

The veteran has been working at Cracker Barrel for the last three years, and while he admits he’s been written up for violating company policy twice before — for getting a fountain drink without paying for it and giving a customer coffee (which he claims she paid for — this time he’s out of a job.

According to WWSB News, the worker said he thought a man who might be homeless walked into the Cracker Barrel where he works as a greeter, and asked for mayo and some tartar sauce because he was going to cook a fish.

“I got it for him. As I walked out I put a corn muffin in,” he tells the station.

Afterwards, the general manager took him aside and let him know that he’d been let go.

“It’s a rule. They legally can do this because I did break the rule. I completely forgot about it,” he explains. “I am a host at Cracker Barrel with a little above minimum wage job.”

And now that he’s out of work, he says it’s going to be tough to supplement his Social Security, so he’ll need another job. But that doesn’t mean he’s angry, necessarily, at Cracker Barrel.

“I feel badly. It shines a bad light on the company,” he says of some of the backlash against Cracker Barrel now that the situation has come to light. “I would not want that on any company, but it happened.”

A Cracker Barrel spokesperson issued a statement on the situation, noting that he’d been employed since April 2011 with the company.

“During the time he was employed, he violated the Company’s policies regarding consuming food without paying or giving away free food, on five separate occasions. [He] received multiple counselings and written warnings reminding him about the company’s polices and the consequences associated with violating them. On the fifth occasion, again per Company policy, [he] was terminated.
Cracker Barrel is grateful for and honors [his] service to our country as we honor all service men and women and their families.”

Venice veteran says he lost job after giving muffin to needy person [WWSB News]

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  1. CzarChasm says:

    “They legally can do this because I did break the rule. I completely forgot about it,”
    They needed to get rid of this guy in a hurry. If he cant remember a rule after being written up for it FIVE TIMES, he is a litigation accident waiting to happen.

    • DyinMyelin says:

      Probably has a touch of dementia or age-related atrophy, although I don’t think he’ll burn the place down if his sole job description is “say hi to people who come into Cracker Barrel.” Personally, I’d write off the whopping five dollars he’s cost the company or ask him to reimburse if it really is affecting the bottom line.

  2. Pacer says:

    Interesting they would make that public statement about him since other companies would refuse to discuss it because it’s a personnel matter.

    The other thing is that many people have an intense aversion to helping the needy. I was vacationing in a small town on the Jersey Shore and went into the local bakery one night to buy some pastry. There was an obviously homeless couple in the store and they asked if any day-old muffins were available. The harridan behind the counter shouted at them until they left. When I ordered donuts and two muffins she refused to sell them to me telling me, “You’ll just give them to THOSE people outside!”

    I never set foot in there again

    • webalias says:

      I’m surprised that the company commented, too. They have publicly accused him of committing a crime — theft — on up to five occasions. You can bet nobody talked to a lawyer before they decided to make such a statement. Unless the employee agrees that the statement is true, or the company can prove each incident, Cracker Barrel could well be liable for defamation. Even though the employee is 73 and his prospects for future earnings may be limited, his job prospects may still be damaged by Cracker Barrel’s comment. But he probably wouldn’t even need to prove that he suffered actual harm.

      That said, the company was right to fire him, and I don’t consider his deed noble. If he truly wanted to be charitable, he could have spent a buck or two of his own money to buy a muffin, and give it to the needy person. Charity with someone else’s money is not charity.

      • CzarChasm says:

        They didn’t say he stole 5 times, just that he was written up 5 times. Therefore they could probably prove that was true.

        While they are probably better off not talking about employee discipline in public, I think it would be quite a stretch for him to be able to win a defamation case.

        And I totally agree that charity with other peoples money is not charity.

  3. Lenne says:

    Yet another reason I won’t shop at the Cracker Barrel, with the first reason being *cough* COUGHDUCKDYNASYCOUGH. I bet they also throw away the stale (but still perfectly edible) food instead of giving it to the needy as well.