A woman has shared the frustrating moment police were called after a $13.15 filet-o-fish meal landed her in hot water with an McDonald’s employee.
Faith Saylor, from Brisbane, visited the fast food restaurant in Alice Springs on the night of February 22, after landing in the Northern Territory earlier that evening for a work trip.
Due to the city’s tough lockout laws, she was unable to purchase groceries from Woolworths, so Ms Saylor asked her friend if she could order her a meal from McDonald’s.
After receiving a screenshot of the order, Ms Saylor drove to the store’s drive-through intercom where she explained to the employees that she only had a photo of the order.
“(The employee) said it was ‘fine as long as you can show the screenshot, provide the name of the order and the last four-digits of the card’,” Ms Saylor said.
Faith Saylor believes it was her appearance that triggered the outburst. Picture: TikTok / @faithsaylor187
But when she drove around to the window to collect her order, the customer claimed the employee’s attitude had changed due to her appearance.
“Once she saw me she stated ‘oh we actually need the physical phone here otherwise we can’t continue with the purchase’,” Ms Saylor explained.
“So I said ‘that’s fine my friend only lives a couple of minutes away, I’ll go and grab her and I’ll be back.”
However once Ms Saylor returned with her friend, the situation escalated after the customer questioned why the employee had changed her mind.
“Just before we were about to get the order, I said to (the employee) ‘you only made me drive back to get my friend because I am black, if I was a white person that wouldn’t have happened,” she said.
Ms Saylor then claims the employee responded with a “racist” reply saying, “my kids are half black, my friends are black” before proceeding to not give the customer her meal.
Footage of the incident shared by Ms Saylor to TikTok shows the employee taking away a McDonald’s bag from the drive-through window before the customer asks “am I not getting my food?”.
The worker called the police and refused to give the customer her food. Picture: TikTok / @faithsaylor187
The employee claimed the filet-o-fish meal hadn’t been paid for before the video ended.
Then in a second video, the employee can be heard asking Ms Saylor to leave to which she declines as she hadn’t received her food.
The video then cut to a clip showing a police vehicle waiting behind Ms Saylor’s car.
“Police were called but they were confused with McDonalds, like why would (the restaurant) call police over a filet-o-fish? Just relax,” Ms Saylor said.
“There’s bigger things, especially in Alice Springs, there’s bigger crime going on, so (the police) were pretty chill and didn’t really mind.”
A McDonald’s spokesperson told news.com.au that the fast-food chain “does not tolerate racist behaviour in our restaurants”.
“We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment and expect our employees and customers to treat each other with respect at all times,” the spokesperson said.
“We would welcome the opportunity to speak with the customer about their experience, as part of our ongoing commitment to improving our customer service.”
A spokesperson for NT Police confirmed they did attend a fast food location at about 9.30pm that night.
“No offences were detected and the incident was finalised,” they said.
The police were called however no charges were laid. Picture: TikTok / @faithsaylor187The customer was forced to leave without her food following the incident. Picture: TikTok / @faithsaylor187
The videos of the incident have caused a stir online as Ms Saylor’s viewers attempted to determine who was in the wrong.
Most sided with the customer, arguing even though there may have been a payment issue, Ms Saylor shouldn’t have been treated by the employee in that manner.
“I exclusively order through the app and have never even had to show my phone to collect my order. That‘s f***ed I’m sorry that happened to you,” one woman commented.
“As a black person it hurts when even after you follow all the extra unnecessary demands they ask they still discriminate. Hats off to you, it’s unfair,” a second sympathetic commenter said.
However others suggested that due to the payment “pending”, the employee was only following protocol.
“I work in McDonald’s as a manager, I can tell you this happens all the time. Your phone will be showing pending, on our end it’s not paid,” a Macca’s employee said.
A second employee added: “They definitely should have communicated better but I worked at maccas and when it says pending, it means that it‘s still waiting to be paid for.”
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Many others suggested they would use Ms Saylor’s experience as a learning opportunity to always bring their phones with them to collect their food when ordering through the McDonald’s app.
In the end Ms Saylor shared she never received her meal and ended up purchasing a meat pie from a nearby service station.