Misunderstanding to blame for fast-food chain flap

March 22, 2012 8:10:32 PM PDT
We have sorted out the details behind claims on social media that a local fast food restaurant refused to serve some firefighters. A firefighter tells us what happened Wednesday night, and we also talked to the owner, who says this was a misunderstanding about parking.

"With the fire engine, you really do not have a whole lot of room for the cars to pull in," Dairy Queen franchise owner Pooya Hejazi said.

Hejazi describes what started this whole thing. On Wednesday night, Ponderosa firefighters pulled into the Dairy Queen parking lot in north Harris County with their fire engine.

"We were just trying to get a bite to eat, maybe a midnight sweet," said James Dickerson with the Ponderosa Fire Department.

The firemen say the manager told them to move their truck onto FM 1960 then got upset when the crew said they could not do that.

"I told him it's no big deal, we'll leave," Dickerson said. "I guess it aggravated him even more. So then he told us we all needed to leave."

The firemen left. A firestorm spread on social media with people saying the restaurant refused service to the crew. The manager is from another restaurant and was watching the place until the owner returned.

"This wasn't a lack of goodwill; it was basically the gentleman was concerned about the movement of the vehicles for the businesses," Hejazi said.

Hejazi called the Ponderosa fire chief and they figured out this was a misunderstanding. Hejazi invited the firefighters to return.

"I want you to understand this is not service issue, this was strictly a parking limitation," Hejazi said.

"Told us to come back and lets eat and try to mend all this, and I feel pretty good about this. No hard feelings, I gotta have my Blizzards ya know," Dickerson said.

Ponderosa Fire Chief Fred Windisch sent a statement which says the owners say this was a misunderstanding and apologized to everyone. The department has accepted the apology and considers the issue resolved.

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