Two employees at an Alexandria, Virginia, branch of the chain restaurant Noodles & Company have been fired for treating a city police officer with disdain.
In a statement, the company said that “the views and actions of these individuals” were “inexcusable” and do not reflect those of the company or the rest of the staff at the Duke Street location.
The incident occurred Monday evening, according to police, when a female officer came into the restaurant for dinner. While waiting in line, the officer saw a cook approach the cashier and indicate that she would not prepare food for an officer.
The cook said something to the effect of, “‘You better pull me off the line, because I’m not cooking for,” then gestured at the officer, according to Alexandria police spokeswoman Crystal Nosal.
The two employees then laughed, according to a police spokeswoman. The officer walked out, saying, “I guess you don’t want my money.”
“We have concluded the two team members in question acted inappropriately and we immediately terminated their employment,” the company statement said. “We have the utmost respect for law enforcement officials and value the relationship we have built with the local Alexandria Police Department over the years.”
Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook went to the restaurant Tuesday to talk to the manager, who apologized. The company also has apologized directly to the officer involved.
Cook said that he thought the officer “handled the situation perfectly” by disengaging rather than escalating the confrontation. He added that he was surprised to see something such as this happen in Alexandria, saying he believes the police have a very good relationship with local businesses and residents.
In a statement, Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg said she “appreciate[s] Noodles & Company’s swift and thorough response to and full-throated apology for this unfortunate situation.”
She added that “after extensive dialogue with the company’s regional and national leadership, we are satisfied that this situation was an anomaly and should not reflect on the company nor its other hard-working employees.”