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HUMAN RESOURCES

Would You Break the Rules for a Celebrity?

A McDonald's worker let a famous running back in to use the restroom at 3 a.m.—and risked her job by doing so.

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"Ma'am. My name's Adrian Peterson. This is an emergency."

The question isn't what was Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson doing looking to use the bathroom at a McDonald's a few blocks from his home at 3 a.m. (Well, it is, but we can't answer that.)

The question is: Would you discipline an employee who broke company rules for a celebrity?

Tiffany Langeslay, an assistant manager at a McDonald's in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, briefly lost her job for opening the door at 3 a.m. for Peterson, a Minnesota Vikings running back from Texas, earlier this month. The branch of the franchise was closed for the evening, except for the drive-through. Peterson approached the drive-through window on foot and asked to use the restroom.

"He said, 'Ma'am. My name's Adrian Peterson. This is an emergency,'" Langeslay told KTSP-TV in Minneapolis.  

At first Langeslay—the mother of three and a Golden Arches employee of seven years—refused. Then she realized who Peterson was—one of the NFL's rising stars who's played in the Pro Bowl every year since he was a first-round draft pick in 2007—and let him in.

When she returned for her next shift, she was fired for breaking the rules.

"He's a public figure... I know him better than some of the maintenance people that come in and out," Langleslay told KTSP. "I never thought in a million years that that decision was going to cost me my career."

When the station approached McDonald's for comment, Langeslay was offered her job back, and accepted.

It's unclear whether social media had any influence in the decision, but Langeslay had posted a Facebook message on Peterson's page pleading for his intervention. He later wrote on Twitter: "Feel terrible about the nice lady at McDonald's losing her job. Unfortunately I wasn't aware of the situation or I would have definitely helped in any way possible. I'm very happy she has been re-hired and wish her the best."

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Last updated: Jan 19, 2011

COURTNEY RUBIN

Inc. contributing editor Courtney Rubin was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.




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