Fort Myers, FL – A Fort Myers police officer, whose social media post about Burger King employees putting dirt in his food went viral, is fighting back against the restaurant owner’s claims that the officer had mistaken seasoning for dirt.
Officer McCormick posted a photo of his drive-thru order receipt with the word “POLICE” typed on it to Facebook on July 3.
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.”
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.”
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!”
On July 4, CEO and chairman of Quality Dining Inc. Dan Fitzpatrick, the franchisee who operates the restaurant, said that he immediately launched an investigation when he learned about Officer McCormick’s complaint, the News-Press reported.
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.
Fitzpatrick told the News-Press that Officer McCormick has also viewed the video and subsequently agreed that his perception of the situation had been incorrect.
Fitzpatrick claimed that the officer agreed to issue a retraction, but days passed with no sign of the retraction. Office McCormick also did not respond to request fro comment.
On Tuesday, Officer McCormick issued a statement vehemently denying Fitzpatrick’s claims that he agreed with Fitzpatrick’s assertion that the Burger King employees had not tampered with his food, The Whiskey Patriots reported.
Officer McCormick said that he was invited to the restaurant to speak with a regional manager, who told him that “foreign matter gets into product all the time along the supply chain.”
“I was also told that debris from cooking an ‘spices’ could be misunderstood as dirt,” the officer said, according to The Whiskey Patriots.
Officer McCormick was then shown a video of a burger being made and was told that the footage “did not sync up” with the system they used to track his order, according to the statement.
The officer says he busted them showing him footage of someone else’s order, he said.
“I was shown a video of a sourdough king being made. Only one problem, the video showed them making one with the wrong ingredients than my order,” Officer McCormick explained. “I did agree that the video they showed me had no malicious activity, but it wasn’t my sandwich.”
Burger King then twisted his words, the officer argued.
“The CEO of the franchise company took this to mean I was saying I was wrong and they were in no way at fault, [therefore he] said I was absolving them of fault in the matter. FALSE again,” Officer McCormick said. “I stick to my claim that there were foreign objects in my food, and I was treated the way I was [due] to the uniform I was wearing.”
Officer McCormick said that the only story covered by the media “was one from a franchise owner trying to protect his brand,” and that a local reporter the officer spoke with about his side of the story didn’t air much of the interview.
“98% of us who walk the line, walk it with integrity and honor,” Officer McCormick told The Whiskey Patriots. “We come to work every day to serve and protect and to make a difference. We always strive to change the mindset which is influenced by social media and broadcast media.”
“We are constantly judged by the actions of a few bad apples, and this affects the way we are treated by those who have distain for our profession,” he added. “It is a sad state of our society when every officer that pulls into a drive through has the thought go through his or her mind, ‘should I roll the dice and hope they don’t mess with my food?’”
Officer McCormick urged his fellow officers to remain vigilant and to look out for one another.
“Remember it is we Sheepdogs that protect the flock from the wolves they pretend do not exist,” he said.
Burger King corporate has not responded to a request for comment.