Would you feel safer in a restaurant if there are armed policemen lunching with you? Apparently, a manager from T.G.I. Friday’s in Franklyn, Tennessee felt safer with the three cops out of the store. He asked them to leave the restaurant because they were carrying guns.
The three were actually uniformed parole officers from the Department of Corrections. They were on lunch break and decided to have their meal at T.G.I Friday’s. This proved to be the wrong decision because once they were inside, they were ordered to go out by the manager, citing company policies against customers who are armed.
According to the President of the Tennessee Fraternal Order of Police, Johnny Crumby, the police officers were on active duty that day. He explained to WSMV, a news station in Nashville, ‘If somebody comes in while someone is on their lunch break, they are not off-duty. They are still an officer. They will respond to whatever occurs there.’
Well, that’s what policemen do, right? They protect the citizens from any harm that might happen, whether it’s because of some bad people or because of natural calamities. Did he expect them to start trouble, or perhaps not apprehend troublemakers because they were on lunch break?
Maybe he hadn’t seen enough Hollywood movies or T.V. shows, where policemen are the good guys and that they are sworn to protect the citizens from dangers. Or maybe he had a bad experience with their kind. Who knows?
Unfortunately, people on social media are not as forgiving as they should have been when they learned about what happened. Well, no one could blame them, really. Who in his or her right mind would refuse entry to law enforcers?
When the netizens learned about it, they were appalled, and of course, took to their social media accounts to express their disappointment. A Twitter user, named Adrian B., tweeted the official account of the restaurant, saying,
‘Thanks to your treatment of police officers @ your Franklin, TN loc, I’ve had my last mediocre meal at any of your restaurants.’
People called the decision of the manager appalling. Another user said that this location will most likely be the first place to be targeted by robbers. And as you may have guessed, the issue didn’t end in Twitter, it also flooded the company’s Facebook page.
The company’s page was besieged with messages of disappointment and one-star reviews. Some wanted to get the manager fired, while the others called for a boycott of that particular location.
It also looked like he posted a message on Facebook, saying, ‘emulating a police or security guard is easily possible’ and ‘with all the public shootings, we just want to do our best to keep all the guest[s] safe.’ It was already deleted, but the netizens posted screenshots of his response to the heated messages.
This response annoyed the people more. Some posted notes, asking if these are the kind of people that the company employ. They also asked why the response was taken down.
Once the corporate head office of T.G.I. Friday’s heard about the issue, they wrote a public statement, saying, ‘The incident at our Franklin, Tennessee, restaurant was caused by a manager’s misunderstanding of our company gun policy, and that manager has since been coached on the policy and now knows that police officers are always allowed to carry guns in our restaurants, whether they are in uniform or not.”
Aside from issuing an apology, T.G.I Friday’s invited the cops back to the store, offering free lunch.
People understand that the country has an increasing amount of gun problems, especially in the recent years, when armed people storm schools and other establishments. This issue is not just in America, as you are all aware, but around the world. There is a need to have some measure of vigilance, but what happened in this situation is truly a head-scratching incident.
It is logical not to allow armed men and women inside establishments, but if they’re wearing a cop’s uniform, it’s a bit difficult to comprehend why anyone would think they’re impostors. Maybe he simply has an overactive imagination, don’t you think?
On the part of the company, well, this is a great opportunity for them to clarify their policies, so that their employees are not going to misunderstand them. This incident was definitely a big blow to their marketing strategies, especially since people think highly of law enforcers. For them to call a boycott in the company is something that needs to be remedied as soon as possible.
This should also serve as a message to other establishments, for their employees to not make the same mistake. Unless they’re ready to face the wrath of social media.