Heather Levia is 23-years-old, has twins, works two jobs, and is in nursing school. She works incredibly hard, and therefore has an appreciation for the hard work first responders do. When some firefighters in Olean, New York, came in to order to food after fighting a house fire in freezing temperatures, Levia paid the $83 bill herself. When another round of food was ordered by a different fire department, she asked if the McDonald’s would cover the cost. As WIVB News 4 reports, Ms. Levia believes this was the catalyst in the restaurant’s decision to fire her.
After already paying $83 for the first order of food, Heather then texted her boss to see if the restaurant would pay the bill, since they regularly gave free meals to police officers. Her boss said no. After checking with corporate, Heather was once again told no. Not wanting the fire fighters to pay, she and her coworkers covered the cost.
When the firefighters heard that Heather paid the bill, they called her boss and complained because they thought the restaurant had, “made Levia feelobligated to pay for their meals.” The Olean Times Herald reports when Heather showed up for her next shift, she was fired after 8 years of working for the company. She was told it was because she swore at a superior, but she denies that, telling WIVB, “I did say this is ‘freaking’ ridiculous. But it was not implied [sic] to anybody.”
Tom Meyers, the owner of the McDonalds in statement to the news station, said in part…
“We are aware that certain allegations have been made concerning the reasons for Heather Levia’s termination. Out 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. We would never penalize an employee for showing appropriate gratitude for the work of our firefighters.”
As for Ms. Levia, she doesn’t regret what she did, saying, “It’s just wrong. I wish the communities would change and help each other out. 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.” WIVB says she’s in the process of finding a new job and has already received, “several offers.”