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McDonald’s worker sent packing after paying firefighters’ meals

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A McDonald's worker who had been on the job for eight years was told to go home — that her services were no longer needed — the day after she paid $92 out of her own pocket for firefighters who came in to eat.

The tab was for 25 breakfast sandwiches and hash browns, and Heather Levia, 23, from Olean, N.Y., said to News.com.au that she just wanted to honor the firefighters' hard work. So she reached into her pocket and paid the bill.

A second firefighter department came in shortly after and ordered $70 worth of food, the New York Post reported. So Ms. Levia contacted her employer and asked if McDonald's could pick up the cost. The boss said no — so Ms. Levia and other employees pooled their money and paid.

"Just because I appreciate everything they do," she said, to the local WIVB.

But some of the firefighters complained, and Ms. Levia was called into the office the next day and fired. Ms. Levia said her boss told her the reason she was fired was because she swore during the discussion — a cause Mr. Levia denies, News.com.au reported.

"I did say this is 'freaking' ridiculous," she said to the media outlet. "But it was not implied to anybody."

Allegany Fire media officer Gordon Scott said, in the New York Post: "We certainly regret the fact she lost her job. We can't speak on corporate policy because we don't know the background of it."

Ms. Levia has already bounced back and received two other job offers. And she insisted she was only trying to do a good deed.

"I wish the communities would change and help each other out," she said. "I wish that things didn't have to be the way they are. And if losing my job is going to speak out to the community, then that's what it's going to do."

But the owner of Olean McDonald's, Tom Meyers, said her firing was unrelated to the goodwill effort.

"The Meyers Organization has always valued employees who serve our customers every day," he said in the New York Post. "We are aware that certain allegations have been made concerning the reasons for Heather Levia's termination. Our of respect for Ms. Levia and her privacy, it would not be appropriate to comment in detail on the reasons she is no longer employed by our organization. Still, it should be pointed out that the allegations are absolutely not true."

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