Working at a fast-food restaurant can often be a thankless task. You make minimum wage, smell like grease at the end of the day, and the customers can notoriously be a nightmare. When standing behind the counter, personal connections with those you serve—anything from a conversation with a regular, to a head nod from a familiar face—can go a long way. But for one teenager, a small act of kindness ended up costing him his job.
According to the Fox News, a 19-year-old named Alex Mesta had been working at a Jack-in-the-Box in Bakersfield, California for two years. What helped get him through his shifts was giving a veteran—one of his regular customers—a free cup of coffee each day.
"Since he's a vet, I don't think I should charge him for his coffee," Mesta told the outlet. "It's like not even a dollar for a coffee."
Still, as Mesta eventually learned, no good deed goes unpunished.
Last week, a customer ordered two tacos and forgot to pick them up. Minutes later, when Mesta's regular walked up to the counter for a drink, he figured he'd give the veteran the extra tacos instead of throwing them in the trash.
The next day, after management saw the incident on surveillance tape, Mesta was fired without warning. Jack-in-the Box is claiming that the termination stems from more than one incident—and had nothing to do with the customers status as a veteran—but social media is rallying behind Mesta all the same.
“Regarding this incident, while it would not be appropriate to provide complete details on an internal disciplinary issue, our actions in this case were not based on just one incident and had nothing to do with the guest’s military experience," the company said in a statement. "We too are grateful to our veterans and to the men and women currently serving in the armed forces."
Still, Alex stands by his decision, and believes he did the right thing. Each of the tacos he gave away cost just $0.99.
"I know what I did wasn't right to them," Mesta said. "But to me it felt right."
[via Fox News]