- The Washington Times - Monday, July 18, 2016

A Taco Bell employee has been fired after she refused to serve two Alabama sheriff’s deputies over the weekend, the fast-food chain said Monday.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said the two deputies entered a Taco Bell in Phenix City on Saturday night and were denied service by an employee at the register, the Opelika-Auburn News reported.

“They initially thought that she was joking,” Sheriff Jones said. “They even asked her if she was kidding. Her response was, ‘No, I’m not. We don’t serve law enforcement, and you need to leave.’”

He said that as the deputies left the restaurant, they overheard another customer thanking the cashier, saying she would have left if the officers had been served.

“I’m very disappointed in the fact that simply because two individuals were wearing the uniform of a law enforcement officer that they were refused service at this establishment,” Sheriff Jones said. “I would hope, and am more inclined to think, that this was the action of one person as opposed to a corporate policy or general cultural attitude of the business itself.”

Taco Bell issued a statement saying it does not condone the actions of the unnamed employee, who has since been fired.

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Taco Bell and Tacala, the franchise owner of the Phenix City Taco Bell, in no way endorse this sentiment,” said Laura Nedbal, a spokeswoman for Taco Bell, in an email to the Opelika-Auburn News. “We are deeply appreciative of the men and women who have taken the oath to serve and protect our communities.

“In the course of the investigation at the Taco Bell in Phenix City, Tacala, the franchise owner of that location, has terminated the employee who refused service to two Lee County Deputies on July 16,” Ms. Nedbal said. “Tacala has contacted the Lee County Sheriff’s Department to apologize directly to the two deputies and assure them of their ongoing support of law enforcement.”

Amid mounting calls for a boycott against Taco Bell, Sheriff Jones urged people not to condemn the company for the actions of a rogue employee.

“We can’t judge the company based on one employee, just like people can’t judge police on the actions of one officer,” he said, AL.com reported.

Sheriff Jones also offered his condolences to the families of the slain officers killed in Baton Rouge and Dallas.

“This situation was disappointing … but it pales in comparison with the events in Baton Rouge and in Dallas,” he said. “We share their grief and stand with their departments.”

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