The owner of the McDonald’s on the city’s west side confirmed in a statement today that the employee was terminated.
“I am very disturbed by the inappropriate behavior of this employee,” said McDonald’s franchisee Wise Finley. “This type of behavior is not tolerated in my organization. I expect my employees to treat everyone with dignity and respect, and this was unacceptable. This individual no longer works for my organization.”
Tasha Gray, executive director of the Homeless Action Network of Detroit, shared in the outrage over the video.
“I think we forget sometimes that people experiencing homelessness are just like you and I,” she said. “We have working families who just don’t have enough means to make ends meet. I like to tell my staff that we’re one missed paycheck away from homelessness.”
In the video, shot by someone in a vehicle at the drive-up window, the worker calls over to an elderly man he calls Willie, saying he was going to give him a sandwich. At first, Willie refuses and curses at the worker, but after the employee held up a sandwich for Willie to see, Willie comes over.
Then the worker tosses a cup of water on Willie while the driver in the car recording the video laughs.
“Why’d you do that?” Willie asks.
The video upset Bishop Daryl Harris, pastor of Total Life Christian Ministries on the city’s east side and a member of the city’s Human Rights Commission. Harris drove over to the McDonald’s this morning hoping to talk to Finley but was unable to speak with him.
“I was outraged — I couldn’t believe it,” Harris said. “To use the food that he was asking for to lure him over and assault him in that manner, it was just cruel.”
Harris said he wanted to make sure that the McDonald’s employee was fired, and was working with other pastors to try to locate Willie to see whether there was any way they could help him — even with something as little as a meal off the McDonald’s dollar menu.
David Sampson, CEO of the homeless and addiction treatment center Mariners Inn, said the video made him sad at first and then angry.
“Those kinds of actions are unconscionable,” Sampson said. “To me it comes from a place of ignorance, not really having compassion for other people’s plight. I often tell people, ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’ ”
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Detroit police were looking into the matter today for possible assault charges. A police spokeswoman said this afternoon she was checking to see whether any complaint had been filed.
And of course I am sure this cowards act was done because they deserve a living wage…….