In April, lunchroom employee Bonnie Kimball was fired from her position at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in New Hampshire.
A student brought a lunch tray through the line, with items totaling $8 that they did not have.
Instead of allowing the student to go back to class hungry, she gave the student the food. They agreed to pay for the food at a later date because she had "known the student's parents for years."
Unfortunately, the wrong person witnessed an exchange that most of the public appears to view as a kindness. In Kimball's termination letter, Jaime Matheson, Director of Human Resources for Café Services, stated:
"On March 28, a District Manager was on-site and witnessed a student coming through the line with multiple food items that you did not charge him for. This is in strict violation of our Cash Handling Procedures, the Schools Charge Policy and Federal Regulation governing free meals."
@fox32news The audacity of her employer to fire her for feeding a hungry student. C’mon Twitter, do what you do be… https://t.co/GINue9ZbUZ— E Houser Broome (@E Houser Broome)1558048025.0
Here's the woman, Bonnie Kimball, who Café Services, NH fired bc she GAVE A CHILD A SCHOOL LUNCH. I think she deser… https://t.co/55CPn2ep2E— Patricia Farrell (@Patricia Farrell)1558065349.0
In response to public backlash from Kimball's termination, Matheson has argued:
"Students who come up to the lunch line without money receive a lunch of an entrée or sandwich plus side dishes or fresh fruit and milk. An employee of the company would not be let go because they provide this lunch to a student."
A food service company denies firing a NH lunch lady for feeding a student who couldn't pay despite a memo that app… https://t.co/DkEL1XVxx3— UnionLeader.com (@UnionLeader.com)1558037102.0
It appears, according to this statement, that lunch staff have the flexibility to provide students without the funds with a pre-determined lunch. But they lack the freedom to provide them with the items of their choice which raises questions of dietary restrictions or allergies.
Twitter onlookers have been discussing the situation, most raging for justice for the fired employee.
Bonnie Kimball risked her job to help a child in need. Bonnie Kimball felt compassion and acted. Bonnie Kimball i… https://t.co/oxsigjRHgc— Simran Jeet Singh (@Simran Jeet Singh)1558022440.0
Many question the New Hampshire school lunch company's s compassion, morals and mission in caring for students for terminating someone over $8.
Profit over people at Café Services, Inc.?
@UnionLeader I guess the bosses figured if they didn't make an example out of her, other lunch workers would do the… https://t.co/0HoETp2RkE— Fresho-Electro (@Fresho-Electro)1558034619.0
@UnionLeader I guess Betsy DeVoss really wanted that 8 bucks. You did the right thing. I wish you worked at my school!— Matt Chapman (@Matt Chapman)1558042196.0
@UnionLeader In the greater scheme of things, who cares if the parent paid. A hungry kid got fed. Thanks, Bonnie!— Cheryl Rubenstein (@Cheryl Rubenstein)1558095733.0
@UnionLeader Who's phone do I blow up as a struggling mom for firing this lady that fed a hungry baby???— Heavenly Feniello📎 (@Heavenly Feniello📎)1558033462.0
@GlimmerTwnz @UnionLeader @Jimi_Jammin Pro-life apparently doesn't also mean pro-lunch.— The Dead End King Is Here (@The Dead End King Is Here)1558017757.0
@UnionLeader NO CHILD DESERVES TO GO HUNGRY!!!!!— Sherry Blake🌷 (@Sherry Blake🌷)1558091162.0
The general consensus is clear. People are siding with Bonnie Kimball.
Though the school lunch program's HR—Cafe Services, Inc.—insists the student would not have gone without a meal, the public prefers access to foods of choice, and support for those willing to offer it.
Fuck you @CafeServicesInc. You had a poor old lady fired from her job as a cafeteria worker at a high school for FE… https://t.co/Xme3RjOHa9— Damaged Golf Cart (@Damaged Golf Cart)1558028723.0
Based on the escalating number of families in need of assisted lunches, this should hardly come as a surprise.