Fort Myers, FL – A Fort Myers police officer who thought Burger King employees put dirt in his hamburger now agrees that the grit in his food was seasoning mix or particles from the cooking process, according to the restaurant owner.
UPDATE: The officer now disputes this claim.
Fort Myers Police Officer Tim McCormick posted a photo of his drive-thru order receipt with the word “POLICE” typed on it to Facebook on Tuesday night.
The officer explained that, after he stopped by the Fort Myers Burger King restaurant on Cleveland Avenue for a quick bite to eat, he noticed a gritty texture in his food.
“At first I thought it was just burned old bacon. I was hungry and ate the burger,” Officer McCormick explained. “At the last bite I saw dirt and grit on the burger. In disgust, I threw it out of the window.”
The officer grabbed his receipt, and realized it was specifically marked as an order for “POLICE.”
“This had never been the case previously,” he added.
He promptly returned to the restaurant and went inside with the intent of speaking with the manager.
According to the post, a female staff member in the drive thru spotted him and asked, “What the matter officer? Something wrong with your order?”
The staff member and other employees then burst into laughter, Officer McCormick recounted.
The officer explained the situation to the manager, but said he received little support.
“Sorry, what do you want me to do?” was the manager’s reply, according to Officer McCormick.
The frustrated officer says that he later contacted the Burger King corporate office, but claimed that they blew him off.
"Not our problem,” they said, according to the post. “We’ll have the franchise owner contact you.”
Burger King corporate refused to respond to a request for comment from Blue Lives Matter.
Although the store owner did give him a call, Officer McCormick said that his complaint was disregarded.
“It is impossible for dirt to get into food,” the owner argued, according to the officer. “You’re crazy!”
The post has since been deleted or made private.
On Wednesday, CEO and chairman of Quality Dining Inc. Dan Fitzpatrick, the franchisee who operates the restaurant, said that he immediately launched an investigation as soon as he was made aware of the officer’s complaint, the News-Press reported.
“This has had my full and undivided attention,” Fitzpatrick said.
According to Fitzpatrick, the employee typed “POLICE” on the receipt because staff members are required to ask customers for their names during the ordering process.
Officer McCormick identified himself only as “police officer,” Fitzpatrick explained.
Fitzpatrick invited investigators to view surveillance footage of the cooking process from the day Officer McCormick was served his meal, but nothing inappropriate was seen on the video, he said.
Officer McCormick has also viewed the video and subsequently agreed that his perception of the situation had been incorrect, Fitzpatrick told the News-Press.
He assured the restaurant owner that he would post a retraction statement about the incident, Fitzpatrick noted.
“He had it wrong, and I don’t mean to embarrass him at all,” the franchisee said. “The 20,000 people who read that, I frankly hope he can reach them again, but I don’t really care, because he knows what the story is, and the media has been diligently reporting the facts of what really happened. We don’t want to embarrass him. We don’t want to embarrass the department.”
Officer McCormick has not responded to a request for comment or issued a retraction on his Facebook page, but his original post was taken down.
The owner said that there are no hard feelings against the officer.
“Here’s what I’ll tell you: police officers, first responders, military people, they are being ridiculed by the media and in social media at a level that is unprecedented,” Fitzpatrick told the News-Press. “Whatever the conditions were, the fact that my employees were improperly accused, I should give this officer, because of his service, the benefit of the doubt, forgive and move on.”
“I respect this officer and his department. We love police officers. I’m not happy that this happened, but at the end of the day, we’re moving on,” Fitzpatrick concluded.
Fort Myers Police Captain Jay Rodriguez said that Officer McCormick’s post was made while he was off-duty and did not violate the agency’s social media guidelines.