- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A cafeteria worker at an Idaho middle school is devastated after she was reportedly fired for giving food to a young student who had forgotten her lunch money.

Dalene Bowden, a food service worker of three years at Irving Middle School, said she doesn’t regretting giving free food to a 12-year-old girl who said she was hungry, a local NBC News affiliate reported.

“My heart hurts. I truly loved my job, and I can’t say that I wouldn’t do it again,” she said tearfully.

Ms. Bowden said her supervisor reported her for theft on Dec. 15 after catching her giving the lunch away, even though she offered to reimburse the $1.70.

“He said I was on permanent leave until he called me. I should not call them he will call me. And they never called me… then I got the letter,” she said.

The registered letter from the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District said Ms. Bowden was terminated for theft of school district property and inaccurate transactions when ordering, receiving and serving food, the Idaho State Journal reported.

With some help from social media, the community has rallied around Ms. Bowden in trying to get her job back. Ms. Bowden has hired an attorney to look into this case, and an online petition created in her honor has surpassed 50,000 signatures.

“I broke the rules, but I offered to pay for the meal and I don’t think I deserved to lose my job over it,” Ms. Bowden said.

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