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School Cafeteria Employee Fired For Giving Student Without Money Lunch, Leading to Backlash

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A high school cafeteria worker was fired after she allowed a student to take a lunch when he had no money. She pulled the child aside after he said he forgot his lunch money and told him to bring it the next day. The boy brought the $8 the next day, but Bonnie Kimball was fired by the food service she worked for.

Café Services, the company Kimball worked for, terminated her after they claimed she stole from the company. “‘Do you understand what you did was wrong? That was theft,'” she was told by her employer, according to Kimbell.

Kimball, who worked at a New Hampshire high school, gave her termination letter to CNN, which detailed her firing. “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. This is in strict violation of our Cash Handling Procedures, the Schools Charge Policy and Federal Regulation governing free meals,” the letter reads. “Your final has been processed and disbursed to you.”

The student in question had parents who were prominent in the community, and Kimball knew they would pay the next 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,” Kimball explained. “But I didn’t want to get her out of work. I know they would have brought the money the next day. The bill was going to get paid.”

The human resources director for Café Services, Jaime Matheson, defended his stance on the matter by claiming the student in question would have received a meal if he didn’t have money. But it would have been a predetermined meal already put in place by the company.

“The student in question did receive a lunch. 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,” he wrote in a statement.

The swift departure angered parents and the co-workers of Kimball, with a few of them quitting in protest of the decision, The Guardian reported. Many of the parents of the students created a GoFundMe and raised more than $5,000 by Friday. Kimball says she has no plans to return to her job even if it was offered to her.

Kimball has received support from the community which is comforting to her. “When I walked out of the school the day that I got fired, all that was going through my head was that I wouldn’t be able to show my face again. People would think I was a thief,” she explained. It “makes me feel good,” she added.