A stirring in social media has been created after two employees of the restaurant, Cook Out, have been fired for denying service to a local police officer. Around 12:30 AM on a Thursday morning, a uniformed officer walked in to Cook Out to order a meal. The officer, on duty at the time, was denied service by two employees who were working at the Roxboro restaurant. Taren Woods was the manager serving at the time of the incident, and was fired shortly after the morning, along with the cashier who denied the on duty officer service.
Woods arrived to work on Friday, where she was notified of her removal.
Woods was shocked, as she had been an employee of the restaurant for over ten years. The situation occurred early Thursday morning. Woods was working in the back and was not aware of the situation that was developing in the front of the store. When the officer came to the restaurant, a cashier refused to take his officer. The cashier requested another cashier working step in and serve the officer, which is part of the company’s typical protocol. After the original cashier walked away, the officer questioned where she went. The officer would then leave without placing an order. Woods would be informed that she was fired for her refusing to step in and fix the issue, which she believes is unfair.
Employees of the company, under the company’s policy, are not permitted outdoors after 9:45 PM, multiple hours before the incident. Woods was told she should have gone out to take the officers order and right the situation, but she did not want to break policy to chase a cop down at night. The cashier in question was also fired, but has not commented on the incident. Cook Out has been reached out to, but has not responded to requests for a statement. Police Chief David Hess has stated that his office is upset that an officer was denied service, as they try to promote unity in the community. However, despite his disappointment for the denial of service to one of his officers, he, nor the officer in question, never requested the two employees be fired and that the decision was independently and entirely Cook Out’s decision.
The firings has generated great attention in the community, as multiple Facebook posts have been made regarding the incident. Local news outlets have also covered the story, leading many people to divide and pick sides. Many people blame the cashier and manager for their handling of the situation. Another employee of Cook Out named Kinston Leake believes the problem could have been avoided, stating that “You’re supposed to serve everybody. It’s Cook Out, come on now.” Others side with Woods and the cashier, stating that proper protocol was followed and the company’s policy was maintained. Woods remains upset with her abrupt firing, stating that, “It is frustrating because it’s a lie. And they got all this stuff stirred up. And I lost my job and I got four kids and it’s Christmas time. So yeah, that’s not fair at all.” The two former employees remain apart from the company and have not been rehired.