Whataburger reacted quickly. Ben Noey Jr. Star-Telegram
Whataburger reacted quickly. Ben Noey Jr. Star-Telegram

Texas

Officers refused service by Whataburger were shocked: ‘Did this just happen?’

By Ryan Osborne

rosborne@star-telegram.com

September 16, 2015 12:05 PM

LEWISVILLE

Cameron Beckham and Michael Macgovern were working the night shift Tuesday, so for a late dinner, the two off-duty officers pulled into a Whataburger off Interstate 35 in Lewisville.

Dressed for their part-time security job at a construction site, they walked in and glanced at the menu at the counter.

“First words we hear are, ‘We don't serve police officers here,’” Beckham said Wednesday. “We were just kind of in shock. Did this just happen?”

Beckham is a Milford police officer who works security on his off days and Macgovern is a reserve deputy for the Strawn marshal’s office. Beckham asked for the employee's name, and he and Macgovern left.

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Before they got to work, Beckham reported the employee to a Whataburger corporate line.

By Wednesday afternoon, the San Antonio-based company had fired the employee, issued a public apology and arranged an in-person meeting between the two officers and a regional manager at the Lewisville location.

We were just kind of in shock. Did this just happen?

Cameron Beckham

“We were appalled to hear of an employee refusing service to two officers, as we have proudly served first responders across our system for decades,” the company wrote in a statement. “As soon as we heard of this isolated incident, we began our own internal investigation overnight.”

Whataburger posted the full statement to Facebook, and spent the afternoon responding to dozens of Twitter complaints, reiterating that the employee was fired.

We’re appalled by this incident & the employee is no longer working for us. We’re apologizing to the officers in person to make this right.

— Whataburger® (@Whataburger) September 16, 2015

The officers were satisfied with the response. Within three hours of his complaint, Beckham received a call from the company's corporate office.

“They were wanting to speak with us right then,” he said.

The two men didn't intend to cause a stir, but they also didn't want to give the employee a pass, Beckham said.

“We could've been the guys who blew it off — and we didn't want to take anything away from the Rangers [moving into first place] — but law enforcement officers are getting tired of this stuff,” he said. “I think everyone is, to be honest.”

As for their dinner, Beckham and Macgovern didn’t go to work on an empty stomach.

“We went down the street to the local Dairy Queen,” Beckham said. “Fine establishment. No problems there.”

Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7684

Twitter: @RyanOsborneFWST