School Fires Lunch Lady for Letting Boy Who Couldn’t Afford Lunch Take Food Home

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We live in a wild time y’all. And by wild I do in fact mean the darkest timeline. Our president is…some sort of orange something, states are taking away abortion access at an astounding rate, and basic decency is quickly slipping into the past.

Maybe I’m just an old curmudgeon, but today’s story has me yearning for past days when a kid could forget their lunch money without being accused of stealing. Yeah, that’s right: a kid at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in New Hampshire forgot his lunch money. The lunch lady did what any decent human being would do: she let him have lunch. He paid her the next day.

You’d think this would be a non-issue. But the food services company didn’t seem to think so. Not only did they call the action “theft”, they fired the kind lunch lady who helped a kid in need. What even?

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All of us have been this kid.

You walk into the cafeteria, your stomach growling, and you realize that you have no lunch money. S***!

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If your youth was anything like mine, all you had to do was make a sad face at the lunch lady.

You’d get your lunch and pay up the next day. A time-honored tradition.

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Well, apparently that tradition is now coming to an end.

Or at least it is at Mascoma Valley Regional High School.

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Just like so many students before, a kid came to lunch lady Bonnie Kimball without his lunch money.

  via CNN  

Bonnie had literally known the family since the child’s parents were kids.

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So she felt she could trust them for the whopping bill of $8.

She told him to take the food and bring the money the next day.

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A reasonable course of action if I’ve ever heard one.

Unsurprisingly, within 24 hours, the money had been repaid.

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After four years on the job, Bonnie felt empowered to make this decision.

Like most people who have been in the same position for four years, it seemed like she knew the constraints of the position pretty well.

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Unfortunately for Bonnie that was not the case.

Within just a few days, Bonnie had been fired.

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What on earth was the reasoning?

No money was lost in the transaction. No one was harmed. Everything seemed to work out just fine.

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But apparently Bonnie had violated procedures.

“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,” reads a letter sent to Bonnie.

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As if that weren’t enough of an overreaction, they went even further.

According to CNN she was told “Do you understand what you did was wrong? That was theft.”

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Ah yes, the classic definition of theft.

I give you something and you give me money in return.

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But the organization that fired her, Cafe Services, even tried to make this into a federal concern.

“This in strict violation of our Cash Handling Procedures, the Schools Charge Policy and Federal Regulation governing free meals,” they said.

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Ok Cafe Services.

I’m pretty sure there’s no federal law against kind lunch ladies, but you go ahead and keep telling yourself that it violated “federal regulations”.

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Not only is their reasoning totally bonkers…

But it’s all over $8. If I recall working in retail, they didn’t even get irritable unless the cash drawer was off by $10 or more.

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If I lost my job of 4 years over $8 I would throw a serious fit.

Especially if the money came in just a day later.

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It’s truly sad that personal connection doesn’t really count for anything anymore.

And that large corporations can destroy someone’s life over something so small.

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We think Bonnie did the right thing.

Kindness is never unacceptable.

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Of course, the company that fired her has a response for everything.

“The student in question did receive a lunch,” they argued. 

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They contend that no student goes hungry.

“Students who come up to the lunch line without money receive a lunch of an entrée or sandwich plus side dishes or fresh fruit and milk. An employee of the company would not be let go because they provide this lunch to a student,” said the company.

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If the company is so lenient about providing students with free lunches…

Then why were they so harsh about a lunch that did eventually get paid?

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Of course the company won’t get into details about the firing.

“We can’t get into specifics because personnel decisions are confidential to honor privacy, however employees receive and sign their acknowledgment to company policies.” Ok. Sure.

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The action was so out of line that other employees took notice.

Two of Bonnie’s colleagues even quit in protest.

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Honestly, I’d quit too.

If I have to be so on edge about my job that I could be fired for next to nothing, I don’t want to work there.

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It seems unlikely that Cafe Services will reverse their decision.

But we’re willing to bet that someone else will make sure Bonnie’s ok.

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Kindness will be repaid with kindness.

Especially when it didn’t hurt anyone.

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So we’re raising a glass to Bonnie.

And all the lunch ladies that have made sure kids don’t have to learn on an empty stomach.

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We’ve all been that hungry kid.

And one kind person makes all the difference.

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No one should have to fear for losing their job because they gave a child food.

No one.

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We stand with you Bonnie.

Kids deserve to eat.

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