While Texas has been in the grip of hurricane Harvey, causing record flooding and devastation to so many, I have been glued to my television watching the images of tragedy and heroism.
(IMAGE: Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls and Lucas Wu lift Ethan Wu into an airboat as they are evacuated from rising waters from Tropical Storm Harvey, at the Orchard Lakes subdivision, Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)
It was heartwarming to me to see all of the men in blue, our police, and our firefighters, our military and National Guard, risking their safety to help others. My own son is there as a fire fighter in one of the hardest hit cities, working extra hours to help the people in need. That’s what they all do. Police or fire fighters are the ones we call when we are in need of help, and they always come.
I can’t help but wonder how many of the people that needed help may have been one of those employees that refused to serve a police office in their place of business. More and more employees are taking it upon themselves to refuse service when a police officer walks in their restaurant or store. They have some sort of twisted thought that the police are the enemy. Yet when they have a fight, or a shooting, or a robbery, or any of a multitude of life situations, they call a cop for help. And the cop shows up. They don’t ask who’s in trouble, they just respond, to anyone, at any time. They don’t start the situations people find themselves in, they just respond to it.
For an employee of a business to refuse to serve a police officer is stupid at best. If the owner of that business does not fire that employee, they are equally complicit. The irony is that when that business needs the police, they will be there. I’d like to see people boycott any business that engages in the practice of refusing service to law enforcement. In almost every airport I am in, I walk by Dunkin Donuts, and will continue to walk by because of their self-centered, biased, uninformed employee refusing to serve a cop. Given time and no further incidents, I will re-patronize these businesses, but it is my way of not rewarding bad behavior.
Some managers do fire or discipline or re-educate the employee who has taken it upon themselves to refuse service, and they apologize for the behavior. Others take little or no action. What managers need to do is train employees to understand that it is not their business and those decisions are not theirs, nor is it their right to refuse service to law enforcement, and have the employee sign that they understand that they will be fired if that occurs. The fact that any employee thinks they have the right to speak for the business is pretty mind boggling. Also mind boggling, is the list of reputable businesses who have refused to serve police. Here is a partial list; Taco Bell in Alabama; Dunkin Donuts in Connecticut; Whataburger in Texas; Arby’s in Florida; Chuck E Cheese in Kentucky; Noodles in Virginia; Wendy’s in Texas; Genghis Grill in Texas; Sunoco Gas in Florida; Lucky’s Teriyaki in Washington; Golden Chick in Texas; McDonalds in Virginia; Starbucks in Philadelphia, and there are many more. Fortunately many of these businesses did not agree with the employee’s behavior and made an apology. But in a climate where there are record numbers of officers being killed on the job, and where there are so many calls to police that put them in harm’s way, the audacity of these police haters is appalling.
There is even a site on the web called copblock that purports to be a group monitoring police, but they advocate for businesses to refuse service to police and they advocate a lot of hatred of law enforcement. We would not have a society of peace and of law without those that enforce the laws standing ready to serve all of us, all day, every day, no matter who you are. Police officers don’t refuse service and don’t deserve to have service refused.
If you are a business owner, make it your business to train and educate your employees so that officers never have to be refused service. If you don’t, and your business refuses service to those who serve all of us, I hope everyone who hears of it, boycotts your business. Remember that it is your good name that brings customers in the door, but it’s your employees who keep them coming back, or lose their business for you. People still tell one person if you are great and 10 people if you are bad and those numbers don’t add up to long term success. It is our responsibility as business owners and managers to set the tone of our business and the boundaries for our employees.