Bonnie thought she was doing the right thing.
“When I rang him up, the student didn’t have any money on their account,” says Bonnie. “So, I have a district manager here, my boss has told me ‘Don’t cause any scenes with the contract’ and I quietly said, 'Tell [your] mom you need money.'" The kid said he would tell his mom and Bonnie thought that was that, but she was fired the next day.
Understandably, Bonnie is devastated. "It was my life for five years. I went and I took care of another family," she says. "You don’t just lose a family member, be OK and move on."
Oh, and the kid did end up paying for the lunch.
The very next day, the kid paid his outstanding bill. His bill got paid before Bonnie was even fired, but she still got fired.
Bonnie has since shared a letter that she received from Cafe Services that explains why she was terminated. It reads: "On March 28, a District manager was on-site and witnessed a student coming through the line with multiple food items that you did not charge him for. This is a strict violation of our Cash Handling Procedures, the Schools Charge Policy and Federal Regulation governing free meals." UGH, just UGH!
Bonnie's out of a job, but Cafe Services got its contract renewed.
Bonnie does not in any way blame the school district for what happened to her since the district was not her employer, but it has to sting a bit that the school district did renew its contract with Cafe Services. From a purely financial standpoint, it makes sense since Cafe Services submitted a bid for less than its competitor, and that gives more money back to the school district.
Regardless, Cafe Services should apologize to Bonnie and rehire her. She gave a hungry child food when he didn't have money, and he ended up paying for it the next day. Is that really an offense worth getting fired for? The least Cafe Services could do is make a hefty donation to her GoFundMe campaign.