If you’re a cop in uniform, shouting your to-go order into a tinny speaker from the driver’s seat of your very well-marked police cruiser, you probably half-expect every meal to be served with an unwanted side of spit, soap, or whatever else is on-hand in the kitchen. According to the Wall Street Journal, police officers have been ultra-paranoid about fast food workers messing with their food for a couple of decades now, and although some of the cops’ accusations remain unproven, many others have been very true and very nasty. Because police are now on edge every time they place an order, they have a natural suspicion toward anything that doesn’t look exactly like the photos on the menu board and therefore may have been intentionally messed with.
Fort Myers police Officer Tim McCormick went through a Florida Burger King during his shift, and he was almost finished with his Sourdough King when he spotted something strange on the bun. “At first I thought it was just burned old bacon, I was hungry and ate the burger, at the last bite I saw dirt and grit on the burger,” he wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post. “In disgust, I threw it out of the window.”
OK first, LITTERING IS AGAINST THE LAW, OFFICER—but McCormick was clearly so traumatized by the idea of downing flame-grilled potting soil that the rules slipped his mind. In his post, he said that the word “POLICE” was written on his receipt, indicating a potential sign to the other BK staffers to, say, scrape the treads of their shoes onto that soft sourdough bun.
“I contacted cooperate [sic] offices and they said ‘not our problem we'll have the franchise owner contact you’,” he continued. “When contacted by the franchise owner he said ‘It is impossible for dirt to get into food, you're crazy!’ So to my brothers and sisters I say this. only eat at safe places and check your food before hand [sic]. EXCELSIOR!!!!!!”
According to the Fort Myers News-Press, McCormick’s allegations might not have been entirely accurate. "This has my full and undivided attention," Dan Fitzpatrick, the CEO and Chairman of Quality Dining, Inc. told the outlet. (Quality Dining, Inc. operates the restaurant that McCormick visited, as well as more than 160 other Burger Kings in three states.) He contacted the police department and “invited senior level officials” to watch the video of the employees cooking the officer’s meal that day.
They all determined that nothing inappropriate happened while McCormick’s burger was being prepped and the ‘dirt’ that he’d spotted was most likely a salt-and-pepper spice blend that is added to each patty before it’s cooked. And as for that big POLICE on the receipt? Fitzpatrick said that it’s because, when asked to give a name for his order, McCormick said “Officer.” When asked to clarify, he said “Police officer.”
Despite the accusations, Fitzpatrick remains a big fan of the department. "It's hard to not go far these days to see first responders put in harm's way and not be respected," he said. "We love these guys."
He told the News-Press that he’s made arrangements for McCormick to watch the video of his burger being fixed too. He also hopes that maybe—maybe—he’ll write a different Facebook post afterward. But in 2018, who can we trust?