In March, Bonnie Kimball gave a New Hampshire high school student a free meal after learning he had no money to pay that day. She was soon fired for this, she says.
Several days after she was fired, on April 9, the former Café Services employee received a letter from Fresh Picks Café, a division of her employer, which confirmed she had been fired for not charging the student.
“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,” wrote Director of Human Resources Jaime Matheson in the letter, obtained by The New Hampshire Union Leader.
“This is in strict violation of our Cash Handling Procedures, the School Charge Policy and Federal Regulation governing free meals,” Matheson continued.
Soon after, a spokesperson for the vendor claimed the company “would never authorize an employee to not feed a student or staff member a meal” and that no employee would “be let go because they provided this lunch to a student.”
Yet the letter Kimball received says otherwise.
For what it’s worth, Kimball said the student paid for his meal the following day.
“His family is very well known in this town and I can guarantee that if I called his mother, she would have come right in and paid the bill. But I didn’t want to get her out of work,” she told The Associated Press. “I know they would have brought the money the next day. The bill was going to get paid.”
Now, more than a month after she was fired, Kimball has been offered her job back, as well as back pay. Fox News reported that the company offered to rehire Kimball and “work with the school district to revise policies and procedures regarding transactions.”
Kimball has declined the offer, according to Fox.
“But Kimball said she’s not interested in the politics of it all and has no intention of returning. She believes she was only offered her job back so that the company ‘could keep its contract’ with the school district,” the outlet reported.
The school district also told Fox in a statement that it would review its policies to keep something like this from happening in the future. The district added that it had requested to cut short its contract with Café Services in order to accept new bidders next year.