Post about Jack in the Box employee giving free tacos to veteran goes viral

Posted at 1:06 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-03 21:35:29-04

A Facebook post about a 19-year-old Jack in the Box employee reportedly giving free tacos to a veteran and getting fired has gone viral.

The incident happened here in Bakersfield at the Jack in the Box on Buena Vista Road.

The employee, Alex Mesta, says that he would give the man free coffee from time to time because he was a veteran and a regular, and because "it's not even a dollar for our coffee."

Mesta says he would see the man a few times a week because they both worked the graveyard shift. Sometime within the last two weeks, Mesta decided to give the veteran two tacos that were leftover and were reportedly going to be thrown away.

"It was either throw them away or make them for him," Mesta said.

Between the tacos and the coffee, Mesta estimated the total cost to be less than $4.00. He says he was not written up or given a warning, but was instead fired on Monday after his shift.

Mesta says that security tapes showed him giving the man the products, leading to his termination. The company was reviewing the tapes because of a 15-minute window where their systems go down; they wanted to make sure that employees were following corporate policy during that 15 minute window.

Mesta believes that they way he handled that window (he would simply ask any potential customers to wait until the 15 minutes were up) may have contributed to his firing.

On the paper he was given upon his firing, Mesta says that the reason listed was "mishandling funds."

"I know what I did wasn't right to them," Mesta said. "But to me it felt right."

23ABC is investigating the reported incident and received this response from Jack in the Box’s Corporate Communications:

“We too are grateful to our veterans and to the men and women currently serving in the armed forces. Regarding this incident, while it would not be appropriate to provide complete details on an internal disciplinary issue, our actions in this case were not based on just one incident and had nothing to do with the guest’s military experience."