Taco Bell employee fired after denying service to AL sheriff deputies

Taco Bell employee fired after denying service to AL sheriff deputies
Published: Jul. 17, 2016 at 3:59 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 2, 2017 at 2:10 PM EST
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LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) – A Phenix City Taco Bell employee has been fired for allegedly refusing service to two Lee County Sheriff's deputies, the chain's corporate spokesperson said.

The termination comes after an east Alabama woman, whose husband is a Lee County Sheriff's deputy, says two of his fellow deputies were allegedly refused service by a restaurant's employee.

Tammy Bush Mayo posted to Facebook on Saturday that her husband's colleagues, who were both dressed in their uniforms, were treated rudely at the Taco Bell located at 2059 Hwy. 280 in Phenix City on July 16.

Mayo took to Facebook to share her husband's story:

My husband is a Deputy Sheriff in Lee County, Alabama and tonight a Deputy on his shift went into Taco Bell in Phenix City, AL and was told that they don't serve cops. A lady waiting for her food spoke up to say that she was about to ask for a refund because she didn't want to eat somewhere with a cop.

This really disturbs me that people have started treating law enforcement professionals in this manner when these same law enforcement professionals put their lives on the line everyday to protect all people, including this woman with a very bad attitude at Taco Bell. We're going to research this further but if this is what Taco Bell allows to happen, they have lost my business and I hope others of you will do the same.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones confirmed the incident with multiple sources on his staff. Jones says at 9:40 p.m. on Saturday, two LCSO deputies were told by a counter cashier they would not serve law enforcement and needed to leave.

Lee said the deputies asked if she was kidding and the cashier allegedly responded: "No, I'm not serving you." A customer in store also commented, allegedly saying she was glad the cashier wasn't serving them because she would not eat there if they had been served.

Jones released a released a statement, saying:

I'm very disappointed that simply because they were uniformed law enforcement officers that our deputies were treated in such negative fashion. We pride ourselves in giving people basic respect and only ask the same in return.

I am inclined to believe that this was the attitude of one employee and not the policy of the management. The fair thing is to give them an opportunity to respond.

We won't base our opinion of Taco Bell on one employee's negative action any more than the general public should base their opinion of law enforcement on the negative action of one officer.

Sheriff Jones released a second statement on Sunday afternoon:

Corporate management has contacted the sheriff's office in regard to the incident at their store in Phenix City last night. We were assured that they are taking this matter seriously and are conducting an investigation into the situation. They further related that they in no form or fashion endorse any negative actions toward law enforcement officers and as a company are very supportive of all public safety officers. I appreciate the corporate level response and actions to address this unfortunate occurrence.

Sheriff Jones went on to say:

"No knowledge on employee or status. I would like to include that even though the incident last night is disturbing, it is insignificant in light of the attack on law enforcement in Baton Rouge. Our thoughts are with the families of the law officers who lost their lives in the service of their community, their fellow law enforcement brothers and sisters, the city of Baton Rouge and the state of Louisiana."

The store's district manager Robert Chauvin said that this was an isolated incident and the employee's actions were against company policy.

Taco Bell spokesperson Laura Nedbal issued the following statement to News Leader 9, stating:

Taco Bell and Tacala, the franchise owner of the Phenix City Taco Bell, in no way endorse this sentiment. We are deeply appreciative of the men and women who have taken the oath to serve and protect our communities. Our franchisee has launched an investigation into this matter and will take appropriate action. Tacala will be reaching out directly to Deputy Sheriff Mayo and his wife Tammy Bush Mayo.

The second statement from Nedbal confirms the termination, saying:

In the course of the investigation at the Taco Bell in Phenix City, Tacala, the franchise owner of that location, has terminated the employee who refused service to two Lee County Deputies on July 16th.  Tacala has contacted the Lee County Sheriff's Department to apologize directly to the two Deputies and assure them of their ongoing support of law enforcement.

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