Surely sensing a growing public relations disaster on its hands, Arby's has decided to try and calm tensions between the chain and local police forces following an officer receiving poor customer service at a
"As a show of our appreciation and support, this Friday, September 4 we invite you to visit any of our restaurants in the Dade-Broward metro area to receive a free combo meal of your choice," wrote Arby's CEO Paul Brown in a letter issues to all forces in the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale areas. "Simply show up in uniform to receive your free meal compliments of your friends at Arby's."
The incident was touched off Monday night when Pembroke Pines Police Sgt. Jennifer Martin said that a 19-year-old clerk at a restaurant refused to serve her. His manager handed her the food and said that the teen didn't want to serve her because she's a police officer, and it's his right not to handle the duty. Martin was technically not denied service as she was given her food and the manager told her that getting her food wouldn't be a problem. She however feared for the safety of the food and demanded a refund, which she was granted.
Pembroke Pines police chief Dan Giustino received an apology from top
However, the heads of the Police Benevolent Associations of both Broward and Miami-Dade were not appeased and called for a country-wide boycott of what is apparently America's favorite, if not only, national roast beef chain unless the two employees were fired. PBAs are essentially unions, and their leaders are elected by officers and are separate from police department leadership.
BCPBA President Jeff Marano even managed to get in a barb at Barack Obama, husband of
The teenage employee has since claimed that the incident was blown out of proportion.
"We don't hate cops," the teen, Kenneth Davenport, told reporters. "We don't hate anybody. We're just trying to get people out of the drive-thru."
Davenport claims it was a misunderstood joke, and that he couldn't serve Martin because he was busy with other customers. So he asked his manager to take care of the officer. He claims that the manager was the one who made the joke, and it apparently didn't land with the officer.
The incident has since gained national attention in part thanks to being discussed on Fox News' Fox & Friends morning program.
Capitalizing on the high profile of the incident, McDonald's served both breakfast and lunch to the Pembroke Pines Police Department today.
Offended Twitter users soon also began tweeting at the curly fry and red meat eatery suggesting that they give all police officers a free meal in addition to firing the employees.
@Arbys u need to do commercials that show love for our Police officers. Maybe a free sandwich. Shame on that employee— Gloria Roberson (@glorob) September 3, 2015
@Arbys a full public apology is due by your corporation as well as 1 free meal for all USA cops for 1 full day assuming u have any class— Bob G (@uhockeypuck) September 3, 2015
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Apparently Arby's got the message, but instead of offering the deal to the entire 900,000+ estimated police officers in the country, they're capping it to just local forces down here in South Florida. Which, in the scheme of things, seems more than appropriate for what may or may not have been a single misunderstanding at a single Arby's involving a single police officer in a suburb in western Broward County.
Both employees involved, however, remain employed as of this morning.
The BCPBA posted the letter it received on its Facebook