Heather Levia fired. A McDonald’s worker picked up the bill when some first responders came in after fighting a fire in freezing temperatures. But when she came into work the next day she was fired.
Heather Levia, 23, from Olean, New York, has worked at McDonald’s for eight years, has twins at home and is putting herself through nursing school.
She says she knows what it is like to work hard. So when the firefighters came in and ordered 25 breakfast sandwiches and hash browns, Levia paid the $92 bill herself.
When a second department ordered $70 of food, Levia texted her boss to see if the company would pay the tab. But when her boss said no, Levia and other workers again picked up the bill.
“Just because I appreciate everything they do,” she told WIVB.
After the firefighters found out that Levia had paid for the food herself, some firefighters called her boss and complained.
“You opened a whole bee’s nest,” she was told.
At her next shift she was fired. She says the reason given was she swore at a superior — something she denies.
“I did say this is ‘freaking’ ridiculous. But it was not implied to anybody,” she said.
Allegany firefighters say they don’t expect free food and were grateful for the gesture.
“We certainly regret the fact she lost her job. We can’t speak on corporate policy because we don’t know the background of it,” said Allegany Fire Media Officer Gordon Scott. “It was a sad affair because a gentleman lost a home. And it’s even worse because we know now that this gal apparently lost her job because of it.”
Levia, who has already been offered two other jobs in the community, said she felt sad that people can’t help each other out.
“It’s just wrong. 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.”
Tom Meyers, the owner of the Olean McDonald’s, released a statement saying Levia’s termination had nothing to do with her gesture of goodwill.
“The Meyers Organization has always valued the employees who serve our customers every day. 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,” he said. “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.”