“Oh hell no Taco Bell. I don’t play that way,” Shannon Mosier Gridley wrote on Facebook Tuesday, following the removal of her guests from the Louisville location.
That evening, Gridley left Jefferson Community and Technical College, where she is a student, and went to Taco Bell, where she has been a customer for 20 years. On her walk, she saw three homeless people on the street.
Spontaneously, Gridley asked the group if they wanted a hot meal. “I did tell one to put on a shirt,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We walked a bit and then I saw three more homeless people, who joined us.”
The group walked on and Gridley realized they would soon pass a cluster of people sleeping under a highway overpass. “I couldn’t step over them without an invitation,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “So I said, ‘Who is awake and wants food?’”
As Gridley and her group were about to enter the Broadway restaurant, one spotted a friend and asked to include him. That man was with six other homeless people.
According to Gridley, the restaurant was practically empty and seven employees were present. “A security guard who works at my college was eating dinner at a table and started hassling one of the women,” she says. “I waved my credit card and said, ‘Everyone here is a paying customer.’”
But the cashier allegedly told the cooks, “Bag all these orders to go.” After Gridley paid $77 for one order of food, a teen girl asked to use the restroom. “The employee said the bathroom was cleaned and closed for the night,” she says. “But there was an hour left until closing time.”
Then, a tall, well-dressed man entered Taco Bell. “He told me, ‘I see what you’re doing here and I’d like to contribute,’” handing Gridley a $10 bill.
After Gridley placed a second order for $11, she says an employee locked the main door and told everyone to leave by the side exit because the restaurant was “understaffed.’”
Gridley claims she overheard an employee mimic her in a high-pitched voice to the manager. “Meanwhile, all my guests were smiling and introducing themselves to each other,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “There was no issue with their behavior.”
Four members of her group did not get served, although Gridley sacrificed her own meal for them to share.
“A group of the men walked me to my car and we said goodbye,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
On Tuesday, Gridley wrote on Facebook, “I spent over $100 on 48 menu items & was told to leave....I will shout from the rooftops how nasty Taco Bell is to paying customers. I am a 44 year old white, housewife with nothing better to do. I encourage someone with authority to contact me.”
A Taco Bell representative tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “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.”
Gridley says she will feed the homeless again — but not at Taco Bell. “I’ll take them to McDonald’s.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: