Giving away corn muffin costs veteran his job; vet says he’d do it again

A Vietnam veteran thought a free corn muffin might help a poor man enjoy a fish dinner, but he ended up paying for it with his job.

Joe Koblenzer, a 73-year-old who’s worked at Cracker Barrel in Sarasota, Fla., for three years, was fired last week after giving away the muffin to a man who looked homeless and had come into the restaurant to ask for some mayonnaise and tartar sauce.

crackerbarrel0629new“He said he was going to cook a fish,” Koblenzer said on “Fox & Friends Weekend.”

Koblenzer handed over the condiments and threw in a corn muffin for free.

“He was happy, I felt good about it,” Koblenzer said.

But it was enough to get him fired from the national chain, which prides itself on a family-friendly reputation.

It wasn’t the first time Koblenzer has done something like this. He acknowledged having a Coke against the rules at one point and at another giving a cup of coffee to a woman who was leaving the restaurant after dining there and heading back out on the road.

“So those are three infractions of their rule,” he said.

Cracker Barrel, however, issued a statement saying the muffin marked the fifth time Koblenzer had given away restaurant food. It said he’d been warned on the other occasions.

“Cracker Barrel is grateful for and honors Mr. Koblenzer’s service to our country as we honor all service men and women and their families,” the statement said.

A fair-minded person can see everyone’s point here. Koblenzer didn’t want an evidently poor man to go hungrier than he could help. Cracker Barrel is a business that keeps its doors open – and its employees drawing a paycheck – by selling food, not giving it away.

Koblenzer said he would do it again.

“Yes, it was worth it,” he said on “Fox & Friends.”

He’s also looking for another job to supplement his Social Security.

Check out the “Fox & Friends” interview here.

 

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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