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HEADLINES: 

Providence, Rhode Island: “Dunkin’ Donuts Employee Writes ‘Black Lives Matter’ on Cop’s Cup”

Hartford, Connecticut: “Dunkin’ Donuts CEO apologizes over incident involving West Hartford Cop”

Dade County, Florida:  “Arby’s Fires Manager After Alleged Refusal to Serve Police Officer”

Newton, Kansas: “Taco Bell Worker Writes ‘Pig’ on Cop’s Order”

Lewisville, Texas:“Whataburger Employee Fired for Refusing Service to Texas Cops”

See a pattern here? Well, I see several–and in only a few short months. The most concerning is the bold and growing national trend of disrespect toward police and law enforcement officers. We also see a scary proliferation of national absentee owner franchise stores that appear to serve as a breeding ground for such hostile, outrageous and un-American behavior toward law enforcement.  

Let’s look at the latest incident that made national news in Providence, Rhode Island, when a Dunkin’ Donuts employee wrote “Black Lives Matter” on a police officer’s coffee cup. This hostile act came on the heels of another similar and pathetic incident of  hate in West Hartford, Connecticut, when a munchkin-minded employee shouted at a uniformed West Hartford police officer, “We don’t serve cops here!” in front of a store full of customers. Really?

This prompted Dunkin’ Donuts Chairman and CEO Nigel Travis of Dunkin’ Brands to apologize for the incident  with a letter to the editor in the local newspaper. He cited poor judgement on behalf of the  young crew member. Again, really?

Nationally, there is a pattern beginning to develop. Maybe, just maybe, instead of honoring and respecting the law-enforcement community and projecting a common sense commitment to treating all customers with dignity and respect as Travis proclaims, Dunkin’ Donuts may be vying to become the lead despot in a conspiracy to spark a franchise revolution for anarchy in America. 

No? Well, there are literally tens of thousands of fast food franchises in America (many foreign-owned) employing hundreds of thousands of young, mostly poor, uneducated, impressionable people surviving on minimum wage. This makes them the perfect conduit to spew such hatred, hostility and disrespect for law enforcement and humanity under the guise of familiar and respected community brands such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Arby’s, Whataburger and Taco Bell.  

Here is another thought and coincidence: All these outrageous incidents have taken place in franchise chains that are listed in the top 50 in the nation. Three, Dunkin’ Donuts, Arby’s and Taco Bell, are in the top 18. Whataburger is 40th.  It is much too easy for CEOs and local franchise owners to brush these off as isolated instances by wayward employees – especially when the safety and security of our towns, cities and nation are at stake. We are a country of laws. We must enforce them and abide by them. Lawlessness results in anarchy.  

My  message to Dunkin’ Donuts (and others) is keep your free coffee and donuts and invest that money in training your employees so they can start serving up courtesy, respect and love of country. Otherwise, get comfortable in making negative national headlines. 

Here’s another thought: In the Florida Arby’s incident, John Rivera, Dade County President of the Police Benevolent Association, called for a nationwide boycott of Arby’s unless corrective action was taken against the  perpetrators of the incident. Boycotts of a franchised restaurant are a viable option for all communities that feel their laws and law-enforcement officers are being abused or under assault. And, no offense to  Arby’s CEO Paul Brown but, giving our police officers and first responders a free Happy Meal combo is of no real consequence.

As a result of this rash of incidents, a line of pro-police billboards reading “Blue Lives Matter” are springing up all over the country.  Lamar Billboard Advertising is fostering the theme by donating 150 billboards around the country to the campaign.  They’ll run through the end of the month. I hope several are scheduled for Fayetteville. 

According to an online source, the signs sport the hashtag #thankublu. It is also the name of an Instagram account that features several photos of the signs. The bio reads: “Our only purpose is to thank and support the men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line for our safety every day.” 

Hey, that’s another great point! Police officers put their lives on the line for citizens’ safety every day. Compare that to these franchise restaurants that have a policy where they can refuse service to anyone. Well, law enforcement and first responders do not have that option.

I’ll close with this: Every person in America has a responsibility to conduct themselves in a humane, civilized and responsible manner. In America, a land of laws, everyone is obliged to comply or accept the consequences of his or her actions.  If this is not done there is absolutely no pretense, justification or absolution that will undo such consequences. Yes, black lives matter, blue lives matter and yes, yes, yes, all lives matter. And, that is what matters most. Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly

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