A 73-year-old Vietnam veteran was fired from a Cracker Barrel earlier this month after giving a corn muffin to a man he thought looked homeless.
Earlier this month, Joe Koblenzer was working his shift at a Cracker Barrel in Venice, Florida, when a man walked in and asked if he could have some condiments. Koblenzer loaded a few packets into a bag and added a corn muffin as well.
"He looked a little needy. He asked if I could get him some mayonnaise and maybe a little tartar sauce," Koblenzer told ABC local affiliate WWSB. "He said he was going to cook a fish. ... I got it for him. As I walked out I put a corn muffin in."
Not long after, Koblenzer was let go from his job.
In a statement issued to media, Cracker Barrel said this was not the first time he had given away food:
Mr. Koblenzer has worked as a host at Cracker Barrel’s Sarasota [County] store since April 2011. 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. Mr. Koblenzer 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, Mr. Koblenzer was terminated.
Raw Story notes that Cracker Barrel put up the following Facebook post after word of Koblenzer’s termination began to spread:
Facebook users took the opportunity to express their distaste for the decision to fire Koblenzer.
“Cracker Barrel supports vets by firing them for being kind to those in need. Nice job!!!!” wrote one commenter.
“No more Cracker Barrel for me,” wrote another.
In his interview with WWSB, Koblenzer responded to some of the negative feedback and reviews the company received in the wake of his firing.
“I feel badly. It shines a bad light on the company. I would not want that on any company, but it happened,” he said.