A woman says that McDonald’s employees told her she could not buy a meal for a homeless man “in case he became violent.”
On Monday, December 28, Frances Burscough spotted a man on the street near the Walton Road branch in Kirkdale, Merseyside, buying a coffee on her way home.
She says she was ‘lost for words, except when she asked if she could put the food on her order for the guy, Liverpool Echo notes, to say’ he’s a human being, not a f****** herring gull’
Since then, McDonald’s has said that it has no policy in place to prohibit individuals from buying food for the homeless and said it was reviewing the matter.
“The temperature outside was hovering about zero degrees and ice and snowfall had made driving treacherous during the day,” Frances, who works as a writer, told the Echo.
“Numerous accidents had been reported on the M6 and travelers were being advised on the news to be prepared.”
“At that time, most of the shops were closed, so I decided to warm up with a coffee from one of the multiple drive-thru McDonald’s branches along my highway route.”
“I joined the long queue of cars at the branch of Walton Road and ordered a latte.”
“When I approached the payment window, I saw a homeless person lying in a corner under a scant, tatty sleeping bag, looking totally frozen and desolate.”
“He was very slim, clean, shaved and tidy, aged only in his mid-twenties, but with a hollow look in his eyes, as if he were trying to take his mind somewhere, far from the desperate condition in which he was.”
I asked the cashier at the window if I could add this guy’s meal and hot drink to my bill.”
“She was unambiguous. ‘No, you can’t and we’re telling people not to buy food from them because they’re aggressive.’
“I was lost for words, except to say, ‘he is not a f****** herring gull for the sake of God,’ a human being.”
Frances said she left McDonald’s in disgust and went across the parking lot to a KFC, where she ordered the man a bucket of chicken pieces and a cup.
“She said: “When I reappeared with him, he actually burst into tears, and I was so sorry for him that I wept too.
If I hadn’t been so angry and affected by this tragic image, I would have asked to see the manager and possibly caused a bit of a scene to happen.
“But I was so baffled and stunned by the coldness of the staff there which I simply drove away, back to my comfortable home, feeling awful that I couldn’t have done more.”
A spokesperson for McDonald’s said: “There is no policy in place that would limit service to any customer, and we are currently investigating this incident.”
“We strive to be a good neighbor and aim to actively support vulnerable people in our communities, in partnership with local organizations and the police.”
McDonald’s has stressed that “active members of the local community” are the Walton Road team and have funded food contributions from both The Salvation Army Walton and Alder Hey House Children’s Hospital.