Papa John's Pizza Guy Delivers Drive By Shooting Instead Of Pizza

Bad customer service stories don’t usually involve phrases like “bullet casings were recovered” and “drive-by shooting”. Alas, this one does.

On the night of April 14, 2007, Mr. Kenneth E. Cole (yes, really) of Midwest City, Oklahoma called a Papa John’s to order a pizza—a decision which triggered a series of events culminating in a Papa John’s Pizza Guy and his twin brother doing a drive by on Mr. Cole’s house (allegedly). It all started when Mr. Cole was treated rudely by the employee. Mr. Cole called back, complained to the manager, but didn’t feel satisfied with the conversation. Mr. Cole then called another Papa John’s and complained about the poor service at the first Papa John’s. Finally, Mr. Cole called the franchise headquarters and left a message requesting a return phone call. That’s when it started to get interesting.

From the complaint:

Immediately after calling defendant DCT Enterprises, plaintiff’s phone rang and plaintiff’s caller ID indicated that it was the first Papa John’s store. Plaintiff answered the phone and was immediately confronted by the first store employee plaintiff had spoken with earlier. The store employee, among other things, said:

a. He knew of plaintiff’s address and where plaintiff lived;

b.He also lived in plaintiff’s neighborhood;

c. He was a gang member belonging to the “Blood’s” gang;

d. He was going to “shoot up” the plaintiff’s house in a “drive by” shooting; and

e. He was going to kill everyone in plaintiff’s house.

4 days later, sure enough, someone DID “shoot up” the plaintiff’s house. From the complaint:

Four (4) days later, on Saturday, April 21, 2007, a drive by shooting occured at plaintiff’s home at approximately 11:30 p.m. At least four (4) bullets were fired at plaintiff’s house. Plaintiff’s car was struck by bullet, as was the car owned by plaintiff’s brother. Plaintiff, his minor children and plaintiff’s adult brother were all home at the time. Plaintiff immediately contacted the police who responded quickly. Four (4) bullet casings and one bullet were recovered from the scene.

Now that is bad customer service. —MEGHANN MARCO

The Papa John’s Drive By Complaint (PDF)

Courthouse News (Thanks Attorney Wrangler!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. GenXCub says:

    Question… someone on the phone threatens the life of you and your family. You know where they work, you know what number they called you from, but you don’t call the police until 4 days later when they ACTUALLY shoot at you? Why?

    This isn’t to excuse anything from Papa Johns, but either there’s not enough info being given, or this was something preventable.

  2. VG10 says:

    did he every get his pizza? after 4 days, i bet he was hungry!

  3. Pasketti says:

    People talk smack all the time. Most of the time, it’s just venting. Unfortunately, you can’t predict when they’re serious.

    If the police got called every time someone said something mean or threatening, they’d never have time to do anything else.

  4. exkon says:

    Sometimes as a consumer you got to know when to call it quits. Crazy that this happened to him, I mean what are the odds that the employee actually had the balls to go through with what he said?

  5. mattloaf1 says:

    I’d hate to see what would have happened if he escalated to the Executive Customer Service Team.

  6. holysmoke says:

    What did they skip the criminal case? Usually you don’t go for civil cases until the justice system works it out.

  7. lore says:

    @mattloaf1: Perhaps they’d send out their Executive Customer Termination… I mean Executive Customer Satisfaction team out to “take care” of the “problem.”

  8. Bourque77 says:

    @exkon: With that particular employee? I’d say around 99%

  9. vanilla-fro says:

    How is Papa J’s responsible for this guy’s actions other than when he is actually delivering a pizza?

  10. scoobydoo says:

    Wow, no matter how “good” your Pizza may be, this kind of PR has gotta hurt.

  11. Troas says:

    Pappa John’s – Keeping the “Execute” in “Executive Customer Service.”

  12. Wasabe says:

    4 days later? They can’t even deliver a drive-by on time!

  13. Voyou_Charmant says:

    Never Forget.

  14. wesrubix says:

    ahaha just the laugh I needed on a crummy Friday when I know I’ll be at work later than 5.

  15. royal72 says:

    @vanilla-fro: papa j’s may not be directly responsible for the actions of the guy, but he’s their employee, in a work related issue, and he used their phone to make the threat. personally i think the lawsuit is simply a chance to make a few bucks and will surely be settled out of court.

  16. BillyShears says:

    To play Devil’s Advocate: Exactly what kind of gilded, royal treatment was this guy expecting from a pizza guy? They practically live off of tips, I wouldn’t be a shining example of The Customer Is Always Right either.

    (Shooting the place up was still a little excessive.)

  17. maybe Papa John’s is turning into a mafia, where’s Hiro Protagonist when you need him.

  18. notebook says:

    Talk about Anger Management issues.

    But, I have to agree with what some people have said. If someone threatens to kill you and your family, call the police. Especially if you KNOW they have your address.

  19. emax4 says:

    Perhaps any pizza deliverer doesn’t have to sign any type of HEPAA-esque agreement signing that they won’t use personal information about the customer outside of work. Who knows if the delivery guy was on the clock at the time or off the clock just venting his pent-up anger, but they have info on you and can use it against you.

    The driver seemed in the wrong (but we haven’t heard his side of the story either — perhaps the customer was being unreasonable), based on the outcome. This is a prime example why you never want to mess with people who have information on you. When I’d have to deal with a pissy customer while working at Dish Network I’d save their phone number just so I could call them at 2 am from a remote location and scream at them. I never did bother calling anyone, even when i was on vacation in another state, but oh man the fun I could have had getting back at those customers.

  20. rugger_can says:

    Moral of the story : Order chinese

  21. LAGirl says:

    i wonder what Kenneth Cole said in all those phone calls to make the pizza guy/gangbanger so pissed off?

  22. MadMolecule says:

    @emax4: “The driver’s side of the story”?? What could the customer possily have said to a pizza driver that would justify getting his house and car shot up and his family endangered?

  23. rbb says:

    No, no, no. I said hot pizza, not hot lead…

  24. ngwoo says:

    @mattloaf1: IED in the mailbox?

  25. raincoaster says:

    Uh, so if Papa John’s is Bloods, is Domino’s Crips?

    Also, take it from a former crime reporter: yes, the police do want to hear from you when someone has threatened to shoot you. If nothing else, it flags that fellow and they can follow his junker and pull him over when he runs a stop sign or something.

  26. lestat730 says:

    I feel bad for this guy but I also have to wonder why a gang member would be working a job delivering pizzas. For one, what kind of franchise would hire people affiliated with gangs (and don’t tell me its not obvious with major gangs like the Bloods.) I’ve also never heard of any gang member working a legitimate job. These guys are career criminals and survive by hustling drugs and theft. They generally have no education, have criminal(even felony) records, and no work experience. In that position no one would give you a shot at anything. I Would be interested in getting all the details on this case, this post didn’t even mention the arrest of the shooter (which I assume happened since it would be easy to identify him)

  27. rugger_can says:

    What I’d like to know… WTF are the “bloods” doing in Oaklahoma, it just goes to show you. These gang bangers are nothing but inept wannabee’s that play follow the leader. For all their chest thumping and plot they allow themselves to be lead around by their dick doing whatever someone tells them.

    Can you seriously fathom a gang member from Crenshaw going all the way out to OK to start a gang? Seriously.


  28. Trai_Dep says:

    Someone should send a complaining letter to the CEO from an OK address and see if a tactical nuclear device is delivered in four days.

    (I say this because I’m safely ensconced in California)

  29. Husker-fan says:

    I’ve been in the reverse of this situation. I used to work for Pizza Hut, and back when they started selling stuffed crust pizzas they had a garlic dipping sauce. After a few months they stopped carrying the garlic dip.
    We had a customer order a stuffed crust, and call in to complain that he didn’t get his garlic dip.
    When we informed him that we no longer carried it, he became enraged, and threatened to come down with a shotgun and kill everyone working there.
    We called the police. They went to his house, and the guy admitted that he threatened us. He ended up being prosecuted and convicted for making terroristic threats.

    I would definitely recommend immediately calling the police when someone who knows where you are, makes threats to you and others at that address. If it’s simply a misunderstanding let the police sort it out. At least he will know that the police will be coming after him if anything happens.

  30. shdwsclan says:

    So, I guess Papa John’s doesnt do background checks…..

  31. humphrmi says:


    What did they skip the criminal case? Usually you don’t go for civil cases until the justice system works it out.

    I didn’t see anything in this article that suggests that they’re “skipping” the criminal case. District and US Attorneys file criminal cases, victims are free to file civil cases anytime. Maybe the timing isn’t great, having a conviction would certainly help the civil case, but that doesn’t preclude the victim from filing a civil case anytime they want, and it also doesn’t mean that a criminal case isn’t already pending.

  32. SidusNare says:

    I’m sure the civil suit is because the complainer should be anonymous to the target of the complaint. From the filing, it doesn’t seem that the consumer had enough contact with the hostile employee for that employee to get that much information. Either he looked up caller id in the store computer or DCT told him. In either case, DCT shouldn’t have immediately confronted the store, but done test calls to verify the validity of the problem.

    On a different note, i used to work in a very small ISP in Atlanta,GA, and we received a few death threats. In every instance a full police report was filed. I would do the same if it were personal and not professional. Only once did anything happen, and he was unarmed, just wanted to bitch at us in person, of course that didn’t stop him from being searched by the local law enforcement (patted down and asked to leave, I was hoping for full body cavity).

  33. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    On second thought…I think I’m going to order Chinese take-out.

  34. Elle Rayne says:

    Thank God no one was hurt.

  35. tubgnome says:

    No one else pokes fun that the guy’s name was Kenneth Cole?

    Perhaps the pizza guy had a bonafide complaint about a pair of Chinos that weren’t truly “wrinkle free”?

  36. kennycole76 says:

    Well I have read the comments posted by every one here and now hear it from me Kenneth Cole.
    Yes it is really me the victim in the case agast papa johns.
    I would like to give my side of the story if I could maybe it would help some of you understand.
    To start every thing in the report is true.
    To ancer some of you that think I said some thing to provoke the guy at papa johns.
    I did not from the time that I first called to make my order the employee on the phone was rude
    And hung up on me for no reason.
    And I called back and I did ask why he had hung up on me and asked to speak to the manager.
    And the employee replied “suck my @#$%” and again hung up on me.
    So and yes I was upset but I was respectful and asked for the manager again.
    And the person that answered replied this is the manger and I told him what was going on
    And that is was uncalled for and upsetting and he replied.
    “I was standing right here and he did not say any thing like that “and I replied
    “So your calling me a liar “and asked for the number to the corp. office and he hung up on me.
    So I called another papa john in Dell city to make a complaint and get the number to the corp. office.
    And I made a complaint and got the number to the corp. office and I did place an order at that location
    For my pizza.
    Then the employee from the papa johns on Douglass called me.
    I answered and it was the employee that I had spoken to the fist time I called and he told me
    “I know were you live” “your living in my hood “”and im going to come pay you a visit we are going to do a drive by on your ass” ect.
    And yes looking back I should have called the police but I just was thinking that it was just some young
    Wantabe gangster I was thinking in my mind he was a white guy acting like he was black and it was all talk.
    But after that call I called back to the Dell city papa johns and told them I just got a call from the papa johns
    On Douglass and what all he said and I did not want the pizzas but the manger told me he wanted to give me the pizzas for free.
    To him I said I don’t need free pizza I would like to see some thing done about this and he said he would
    Take care of it and to let him give me the pizzas for all the trouble I was caused.
    And I agreed plus it would give me a chance to speak to him in person about all of this.
    And I did.
    And I did call the corp. office on Monday all of this happened on a Saturday.
    I called sat but just got a voice mail I left a message asking for a call back A.S.A.P
    But no one called back.
    I gave them till Tuesday to return my call then called back a second time and spoke to some one
    And I was told that he was going to the Douglass location and he would check it to it and call me back
    And it may be the next day before he could get back to me but he never did.
    Thru all of this I kept my head and was respect full which was hard to do.
    And the law suit is not all about money it is punishment for papa johns doing nothing about the employee
    Or employees that did this before it happened they did not try to call me back that did not fire the guys
    That made the threats witch may have emboldened them and did not take any of this sonorously.
    And as far as the criminal case go’s the Midwest City Police said that the evidence gathered gave them nothing ECT bottom line they can’t do any thing about this case but it remains open.

  37. warf0x0r says:

    Wow, Papa Johns gives you, not only Diarrhea, but also attacks you with bullets. So glad I don’t order from there.