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Update: Employee Alleges She Was Fired Over Meal for Firefighters — Owners Deny It, Past Posts About Job Dissatisfaction

Getty Images/iStock
Getty Images/iStock
An unusual story out of Olean, New York where a single mother working at McDonald’s claims she was fired for helping pay for breakfast for a group of firefighters who had just returned from battling a house fire in freezing temperatures.

Heather Levia claims she arrived to work Friday only to be fired over a Wednesday incident where she and two co-workers paid for the meals of the first responders, WIVB.com reported.

On Wednesday, after crews from multiple departments battled the fire, Salvation Army officials called McDonald’s asking if they would donate some food for the responders, Levia told the Herald. The 23-year-old, who worked at the restaurant chain since she was 15, couldn’t get approval from her supervisors. So she and two co-workers split the cost of the food. So far, it appears the co-workers were not fired. Levia was the shift supervisor at the store, the report said.

Text message about discount (WIVB
Text message about discount (WIVB Video)

“I was told I was being fired for going against the wishes of McDonald’s as well has having my own opinion on not donating to the firefighters,” Levia told the Herald. “I was so caught off-guard by this. I’m very distraught that I would be fired over something like this. I was just trying to give back to the firefighters and they weren’t asking for much.”

Heather Levia (Photo Courtesy Olean Times Herald
Heather (Photo Courtesy Olean Times Herald
WIVB reported (see video below) that Levia is a single mom with twins and works two jobs while going to nursing school.

The bill in question … $83 for 25 breakfast sandwiches and hash browns. Local media reported that the store found out about the “donation” when firefighters called the restaurant’s owners to complain about the employees having to pay the bill.

“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,” Allegany Fire Media Officer Gordon Scott told the station.

Levia was not satisfied with her current job at McDonald’s in the weeks prior to the incident. On January 29, Levia posted on her Facebook page that she may be looking for a new job. She posted “Listen all [expletive deleted] hit the fan today… I’m not putting up with [expletive deleted] … I need out of there before I end up getting fired.” In follow up comments, she stated her bosses didn’t care about employees and said “we have one chance before we lose our jobs.”

After her firing, she also posted about the incident. “I have been with the olean mcdonalds for almost eight years… Today I was terminated because local firefighters called for donations for food. The mcdonalds company denied the donations to help support our firefighters. Myself and two other employees paid out of pocket to feed these firemen.. asking the office before answering yes or no to these firemen. I was told I swore and Hung up on a office worker. Who would ever think that someone would lose their job for giving to those who risk their lives to save ours.”

In a statement to the TV station, the owners of the McDonald’s franchise said they strongly support first responders and that the allegations about the nature of the firing were “absolutely not true.” Citing policy, they declined to provide specifics as to why she was no longer employed.

Stay tuned for more on this one.

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