A woman in Louisville, Kentucky, is accusing a local Taco Bell of kicking her and a group of homeless people out as she was buying them dinner.
Shannon Gridley’s attempt at a random act of kindness began Tuesday night when she was driving under an overpass and she noticed three people sitting nearby.
“It’s a very common place for the homeless to congregate there,” Gridley told local station WHAS TV. “I parked my car, I walked up to them and I said, ‘Are you hungry?’ and they said, ‘Yes, we are.’”
Gridley, 44, then invited about 20 people to a nearby Taco Bell for dinner. But her business was apparently not appreciated.
She said a security guard started questioning one of her guests until she stepped in.
“I held up my credit card and said, ‘All these people are going to order everything they want, and I’m paying for it,’” she told The Courier-Journal.
According to Gridley, the cashier immediately turned and told a co-worker, “This is all going to be to go. Bag it all to go.”
The Taco Bell employees would not let Gridley’s guests use the bathroom facilities either.
“It is dehumanizing,” Gridley told WHAS. “They wouldn’t even let them in the bathroom to wash their hands before they eat.”
Eventually, she and her party were ordered to leave although not everyone had received or even ordered their food yet.
A Taco Bell employee who spoke to the Courier-Journal on condition of anonymity confirmed key parts of the incident and added that the employees are under strict orders not to allow homeless people to use the restrooms.
Taco Bell’s corporate office told Fox News in a statement that the local franchise owner is investigating the incident:
Taco Bell is committed to creating a space that’s welcoming and safe for all people while maintaining an environment free of discrimination or harassment.
The franchise organization that owns and operates this location is looking into the matter and will be proactively re-training its team members on its policies.
Knowing that homelessness is an unfortunate issue in this area especially, the franchisee looks forward to connecting with local organizations to see how they can help and work better together in the future.
Meanwhile, Gridley told WHAS that she hopes Taco Bell improves its customer service.
“They need more sensitivity training,” she said. “I’m not asking for special treatment, I’m asking for humane treatment.”