Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

In many cities around America, homeless people are becoming a cause to be fought over.

Why, I live in the Bay Area where tech CEO's have Twitter fights about what should be done with San Francisco's homeless problem.

Many people seem only to want them out of sight.

Perhaps Lisa Whiter is one.

She recently posted on Facebook about her experience in a U.K. McDonald's. As the Sun reported, she wrote (I've added a little punctuation): 

I went to McDonald's on Bath Road, Slough, with my children. There was a homeless man asleep in there on one of the benches. He smelt. I went to the manager and said politely about it. She said she would speak to him. The whole time I was there she didn't speak to him, with other paying customers walking away from that area because of him.

Whiter said the staff would do nothing, so she asked for the number for McDonald's Head Office.

She claimed the staff deliberately gave her the wrong number. Whiter continued: 

Then I said if food hygiene come in here, what would they say and the manager said don't care. Can't get over the rudeness of staff and the hygiene of that McDonald's. The head office is now informed.

I did contact McDonald's head office to ask what it thinks. A spokesperson told me: 

We welcome all customers into our restaurants and the duration of their stay is at the discretion of the restaurant's management team. If the behaviour of any individuals in or around the restaurant prevents us from providing a safe and welcoming environment, then appropriate steps will be taken.

For Whiter, however, this wasn't the end of the tale.

Reports suggest that she received a barrage of critical comments on Facebook for her attitude.

Sample from Phil Cuthbertson:

I get that the smell could put you off your food but, at the end of the day, this is a human being who was allowed (and well done everyone at that McDonald's for allowing it) to have somewhere warm to sleep for what is probably the first time in weeks if not months.

He added that he was astounded by Whiter's "lack of compassion."

Whiter, indeed, received so much criticism for her "heartlessness" that she shut down her Facebook page. She reportedly claims she was hacked. 

Not every fast food restaurant is as accepting of the homeless as this McDonald's seems to be.

I recently wrote about a Syracuse Dunkin' Donuts whose manager poured a jug of water over a homeless man's head in order to remove him from the store. 

The homeless man had gone in there to charge his phone.

This wasn't even the first time a Dunkin's was involved in an unsavory incident with a homeless person.

A Cincinnati Dunkin' offered this message on a homeless person's drinks cup: 

Stop 'Hangin' out in-front [sic] of the store. If you have a Full Time job!

Some will point out that we're currently entering the season of goodwill.

It seems that when it comes to fast-food chains, the way goodwill is exercised may vary.

You might imagine, of course, that some -- privately, of course -- would want to discourage the homeless from entering their stores. They might sympathize with Whiter's antipathy.

But if you read her Facebook post, you might even wonder whom the McDonald's staff found more annoying: the homeless man or Whiter.

Whiter is reportedly a teaching assistant. Perhaps there's a lesson in her story for a lot of people.

Published on: Dec 5, 2018
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