NORMAL — A McDonald’s restaurant employee who apparently used profanity when taking the order of an Illinois State Police officer in the drive-thru lane was fired hours after the incident, the franchise owner said Tuesday.
Jack Millan said he became aware of the incident Monday afternoon and he and his son-in-law, co-owner Mikel Petro, responded immediately.
The incident became a hot topic on social media late Monday after a Pontiac woman posted that her sister, a state trooper, went to the McDonald’s at 1607 N. Main St., Normal, around 11 a.m. Monday. According to her post, the trooper, in full uniform and driving a squad car, ordered lunch at the drive-thru.
“When she went to pay, the female employee said to her, ‘I just have to say this to you: (Expletive) the police!’” the post read. “She just drove to the next window to pick up the food. At this window, the guy was laughing and said, ‘Wow, that's a female trooper she said that to.’ All the workers inside were laughing. She threw the food away and called corporate.”
Millan said he was out of town Monday but was informed of the incident early in the afternoon. He immediately called Petro, who was already on his way to the restaurant.
“We were absolutely appalled,” Millan said. “Our discussion wasn’t about what to do, but rather about verifying who, and terminating that person immediately.”
Petro contacted the officer and state police to offer regrets and apologies on behalf of the company, Millan said.
“This is not who we are and goes against everything we stand for,” he said.
The Millan-Petro family purchased that McDonald’s location and nine others in the Bloomington-Normal area in December 2016. The family of owners also includes Jack Millan's wife, Gail, and their daughter and Petro's wife, Nicole.
“While we have only been in Bloomington-Normal for just over a year, we have owned McDonald’s for years,” Millan said. “We have always enjoyed working with and supporting our law enforcement partners as well as all first responders and have done that from day one. This one employee doesn’t represent us or the vast majority of our staff.”
All new hires go through more than a week of in-depth initial training, including guest appreciation, hospitality and how to work in a respectful work environment, Millan said.
“Unfortunately, we cannot control what goes on in their minds, but we can absolutely react to their behaviors and did so as quickly as we could in this case,” he added. “She was notified of her termination late (Monday) afternoon.
"We hold ongoing training related to all aspects of the business, including creating a respectful workplace that would discourage that kind of behavior. Again, I’m terribly upset that it didn’t work in this case.”
Calls to the state police and to the officer for comment were not immediately returned on Tuesday.