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Couple kicked out of McDonald’s for sitting ‘too long’ offered free meals for life at another restaurant

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87-year-old Carl and 81-year-old Barbara Becker of Rixeyville, Virginia made headlines when news of their letter to the editor, detailing an episode at the Culpeper McDonald’s, spread and eventually got them free meals for life. The couple says that fast food employees kicked them out of the restaurant because they were sitting “too long.”

The pair were enjoying their regular routine of a mid-afternoon McDonald’s snack they call “scrunch” (between supper and lunch), when they were stopped by an employee cleaning up. Ms. Becker told WTTG Fox 5, “The dust started kicking up and it was just flying everywhere and she says, ‘Does this bother you?’ And I said, ‘Only if you like to eat dirt does it not bother me.’” After the incident with the Mickey D’s employee, the manager approached. “He says, ‘You two have to leave. Your half hour’s up and we have to clean this floor,now,’” recalled the great-grandmother of 16. Carl told WJLA ABC 7, ”I never had an experience like that in my life.” WTTG reported that they found no signs at the McDonald’s indicating a 30-minute time limit.

The couple left the restaurant and kept their attitude of going with the flow and laughing things off, but not before Barbara let the manager know he needed some additional training. When they returned home, Carl drafted his letter to the editor and sent it off to the Culpeper Star Exponent.

Once the letter was printed, the story quickly spread across social media. One of the people who saw the Beckers’ story was Shawn Moss, owner of Shawn’s Smokehouse BBQ in Culpeper. Moss says he believes strongly in customer service and wanted to do something for the couple. He decided to offer the octogenarians free “scrunch” one day a week, for life. Remembering that Carl was a World War II veteran, Moss said, “We’re also going to do a ‘Scrunch Day’ on Wednesday, and offer free coffee to all seniors and veterans.”

As an apology, McDonald’s corporate offered the couple two free small coffees, but Ms. Becker sent the coupons back. The Culpeper McDonald’s franchise owner, Bob Drumheller, issued a statement which read, "I care deeply about the comfort and satisfaction of my customers. My organization takes these matters seriously, and is investigating the customer's claims. I have also reached out to the customer to extend my apologies for this misunderstanding. Our focus will continue to be on serving our customers and providing them a welcoming experience."

The Beckers received a call from Drumheller and Barbara explained, “They said they intend to continue the training and he says he wants me to be a part of his training so that I can help him do it right. I said, ‘I’m doing it right now.’ This is the training.” The couple say they will still eat at McDonald’s, just not the Culpeper location.

Letter to the editor:

Carl E. Becker, Rixeyville
On Feb. 21, at approximately 3 p.m., my wife and I went to the Culpeper McDonald's for our daily break, which we have done many times in the past years. It's a time to share our thoughts, plans, and dreams for tomorrow. As we are 81, and 85 respectively, it's a sweet time of fellowship, which we enjoy, which helps sustain our marriage of 63 years. We usually go in the early afternoon when there are fewer customers.
While we were eating, an employee was cleaning the floors and my wife asked her if she would mind not cleaning around our table until we were finished because of the dust it stirs up. Apparently the employee mentioned this to the manager who shortly, thereafter, came to our table and asked us to leave as we had used our 30 minutes of time allotted for customers who eat in. We were not asked to move to another of the many vacant tables, or perhaps sharing a table with one of the WiFi customers who appear to spend a great amount of time with their computers at the establishment, rather we were asked to leave.
I have had many experiences in my lifetime as a WWII veteran, a university teacher, a Professional Engineer, a retiree from the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization at the Pentagon, and the father of six children - three of whom are also senior citizens - but none as unusual as being asked to leave a restaurant so they could clean the floor under and around the table where I sat.
I wanted to bring this to the attention of the people of Culpeper who may frequent McDonald's, to know that the manager may ask them to leave after they have used their 30 minutes of time allotted there for eating in because it may interfere with McDonald's floor cleaning where they may be sitting.
As gracefully as we could, under the circumstances, we quietly excused ourselves and left with a topic of conversation we will remember for many years to come. The situation was so unbelievable, that it didn't so much as raise a feeling of hostility, or embarrassment - but this may not be the case with others. I think the old adage of forewarned, is forearmed is applicable in this case.
Carl E. Becker, Rixeyville
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