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Veteran loses a job for giving a corn muffin to a homeless man

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joe(CNN) A 73-year old veteran says he was fired from a Cracker Barrel restaurant for giving a needy man a few condiment packets and a corn muffin. He admits it was against the restaurant’s rules  but says he thinks it was right thing to do.

For the past three years, Joe Koblenzer has put on his brown and yellow Cracker Barrel apron and greeted those who come into the Venice, Florida location.

The 73-year- old says two weeks ago, a man who looked like he might be homeless came through the doors. The man asked for mayonnaise and some tartar sauce saying he was going to cook a fish. Koblenzer got him the condiments and put a corn muffin in the bag as well. The gesture apparently cost Koblenzer his job.

Koblenzer admits he’s been written up before, two years go for getting a fountain drink and a second time for giving a cup of coffee to a woman. Now the Vietnam vet who was trying to supplement his social security is the one down on his luck.

The debate over the seriousness of the event and the subsequent firing has started a fire storm online. While some are saying it’s the companies’ right, the establishments reviews have plummeted with more than 30 negative comments about the firing.

A Cracker Barrel spokesperson says Koblenzer received multiple counseling and written warnings reminding him about the company’s policies and the consequences associated with violating them.

This is our TOPIC OF THE DAY. What do you think about the man being fired? Head to our FOX43 Facebook page to leave a comment.


  • Jen LeMaster

    Corporate greed is out of hand. This man gave 3 items to people…that cost the company cents on the dollar and he loses his job. THOUGH at the end of the night they toss hundreds of dollars of food out instead of giving it to a homeless shelter or a food bank or a place like Pal Lunch here in Hanover. These places make me sick. Its cheaper to GIVE this stuff away as apposed to pay for the damn trash removal. I do not like Cracker Barrel as it is… However I can promise you none of MINE will ever eat there again. So sick of this crap.

  • Ira Poontang

    Yes, he was told several times not give away stuff because they would rather pitch it out at the end of the day. They could have taken any number of actions short of termination to get their point across. They could have reduced his hours or changed them or they could have made him pay for the items for instance. This is such a small infraction considering that they toss this stuff away at the end of the day anyway. Why does even the least offense merit the worst possible punishment? A muffin and some condiment packs? Come on!

  • Sandy

    If he was warned he should have been fired. If every cracker barrel employee gave out food think how much that would cost the company. It's not about company greed its about policy. When we raise our children we teach them to follow rules and all places of employment have rules that are to be followed. I feel for people who are in need but if he didn't want to lose his job he should have pulled money from his pocket to pay for the corn muffin.

  • Dan Ross

    Cracker Barrel became famous from good food mixed with Tennessee charm. Now it seems the company has lost it's vision and direction. This is the Cracker Barrel's the second stupid self-inflicted PR disaster. A Vietnam Vet fired over a corn-muffin to a homeless man? Oh, I forgot a $.05 fountain coke! I'd bet this corn-muffin becomes the most expensive baked good in history?

    I'm not too proud to frequent Waffle House in place of Cracker Barrel?

  • rick

    cracker barrel sucks, won't eat there again, company so blessed, to be so greedy, to have so much, and give so little, to put hard ship on a 73 year man trying to get by, and a homeless man who would like to cook a fish. what a bunch of greedy people I would be ashamed.

  • meg

    I am a cracker barrel server here in pa. I too have complained about the cbs excessive waste of food. They are quite greedy as i asked my managers why not give left over food to meals on wheels or city mission as other restaurants in the area do (panera bread does daily)The response was, if people get stuff from us they may expect it all the time. Besides, it’s not part of our business model. What??? The amount of food we throw away (such as our daily features that cannot be reserved a week later) is enough to make a person cry. How many hungry kids and elderly people go to bed hungry while we throw away literally 50lbs of chicken and rice because of a business model? Employees slave away, can’t even have fountain drinks which cost less than 2 cents per glass cracker barrel is a mega corporation…You can’t even have a two cent glass of coke? Business model my rear end…greedy is more like it…

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