Heather Levia was an employee at McDonald’s in Olean, NY who decided to do a kind gesture for the local fire departments when they stopped in for breakfast.
They ordered 25 sandwiches she reached into her pocket and paid for their meals with her own money since they had just spent hours in the freezing cold fighting a fire and she wanted to help. The only problem is that she lost her job because of it.
Levia said that she was shocked when she returned for her next shift only to find out that she was fired after 8 years of employment with the restaurant chain. Apparently upon hearing of her good deed, some of the other firefighters called to complain that she may have been coerced into paying for the meals by management, which wasn’t the case.
“Just because I appreciate everything they do,” Levia said in an interview with CNN.
The meals cost her $83 and she said she was glad to pay for it as a way to show them her appreciation. Just a short while later a different department called to order $70 worth of food and when the restaurant wouldn’t cover the tab her and other employees did, which is what prompted the phone call to her management.
Levia said that her store regularly gives out meals to police officers so she didn’t see it as a big deal. “It’s very common in our store,” Levia explained.
“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, Levia said.
The reason she was fired, according to her management, was that she swore at a superior, which is something she denies. “I did say this is freaking ridiculous. But it was not implied to anybody,” Levia explained.
The firefighters all agree that they don’t expect their meals to be free, and one of the members of the Allegheny Fire Department commented on it, saying “It was a shock. 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. 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.”
The restaurant’s owner, Tom Meyers gave a formal statement about Levia’s firing, saying “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.”
I guess it’s safe to say that no good deed goes unpunished.