A renowned chef has offered a job opportunity to a former student lunch lady who was sacked for letting a boy take an $11 plate of food when he had no money.
Bonnie Kimball said she was terminated on March 28 by a third party vendor that supplies food to the Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, New Hampshire, US.
It came a day after she gave a student an $11 meal, even though he couldn't pay for it.
Ms Kimball said that when the student's account showed no funds, she quietly asked him to tell his mother he needed money, but provided his lunch.
Students and staff are rallying behind a Mascoma Valley Regional High School lunch lady fired for allowing a boy to run up an $8 lunch debt rather than go hungy. Bonnie Kimball thought she was doing the right thing and the parent did eventually pay. https://t.co/y65rc8oGjX pic.twitter.com/eds9teHG2m— UnionLeader.com (@UnionLeader) May 15, 2019
The next morning the student's bill was paid, but the canteen worker was fired.
While the district's policy, according to school board chairman Cookie Hebert, is for a student to be fed even if they do not pay, they are supposed to receive the "lunch of the day," not "a la carte" dishes.
Two of Kimball's coworkers quit in protest of her firing, and many responded to the news with outrage on social media.
Chef José Andrés, who is known for his humanitarian efforts in feeding disaster-ravaged areas, including North Carolina, Texas and Nebraska, took to Twitter to praise the woman’s kind gesture.
"The hero is Bonnie Kimball! If she needs a new job we have openings @thinkfoodgroup", he said in the tweet.
Mr Andrés started his not-for-profit World Central Kitchen in 2010 after the Haiti earthquake.
New Hampshire school cafeteria worker fired for giving food to student who couldn't pay - WHBQ! The hero is Bonnie Kimball! If she needs a job we have openings at @thinkfoodgroup if you know her, let her know! @NewHampJournal https://t.co/o7JHXgRtn6— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) May 17, 2019
Sacked lunch lady is offered her old job back
A spokeswoman for the lunch lady’s former employer said on Friday that an employee violated school and company policy and that a district manager had terminated the person.
The company added it had offered to rehire the employee, provide her back pay and would "work with the school district to revise policies and procedures regarding transactions”.
But Ms Kimball, who has four grandchildren in the school district, said she had no intention of returning to her old job and accused the company of only offering to rehire her "so that it could keep its contract”.
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