Police officers put their lives on the line to ensure the safety of both the communities they serve and its citizens. This is why a KFC outlet in Ohio decided to stick a sign on its front door welcoming uniformed police officers to eat for free. But, when the charitable sign went viral, so did the praise and backlash.
This KFC store in Gallipolis, Ohio, is committed to honoring police officers in their own way—with free chicken. That’s when they decided to print out a sign stating, “All uniformed police officers eat free everyday all day.”
But, after a photo of the sign was posted on the Ohio Going Blue Facebook page, not only was the offer met with gratitude, but also criticism.
Whilst most people responded with praise, there was a bit of debate about why the store didn’t include the military and veterans.
One netizen questioned the sign, “What about the other first responders?”
However, one former first responder wrote: “If the owner of this establishment chooses to provide free meals to anyone that is his choice. It is his profits, his business and his decision only. I respect for what he has done. Rather than trying to find reasons to tear people down for what they are doing, find reasons and ways to help embellish upon their actions to make it so that everyone gets respect. Stop looking at the negative and build upon the positive. As a former first responder for over 30 years I never once looked for a free meal or handout. I respected those people who chose to give it to us but never once asked for it.”
Later, the Ohio Going Blue Facebook Page wrote:
“This is a positive post, but some of you can’t see the bigger picture. As an officer, I do not go into any establishment expecting [or] wanting anything to be free or…. even a discount, whether I’m in uniform or not, and I can tell you other officers feel the same way. We don’t like ‘special treatment.’ The fact is that KFC is acknowledging law enforcement, which is why this was posted. To those who stated that other first responders should also be acknowledged. My answer? ABSOLUTELY.”
And the police officers are clearly grateful.
“Law enforcement across the country from Miami, California and different agencies, calling us just to thank us for what we’re doing for our local law enforcement,” said Doug Knipp, Gallipolis KFC franchise owner. “We’re hoping this catches on and hopefully goes nationwide.”
Knipp revealed that he’s offering free meals to the police at his other KFC outlets as well, including Huntington, West Virgina; Pikeville, Kentucky; Ashland, Kentucky; Grayson, Kentucky; Hazard, Kentucky; Burlington, Ohio; Gallipolis, Ohio; Jackson, Kentucky; Prestonsburg, Kentucky; Morehead, Kentucky; Wayne, West Virginia; Paintsville, Kentucky; and Louisa, Kentucky.
One KFC employee responded to the post: “Yes we feed police officers for free EVERYDAY!!! I work at the Russell KY KFC!! We honor our protectors!! Now we need to give free dinners or food to the veterans also!! I am going to bring it to their attention next time I see the owners.”
Knipp stated his dedication to the initiative, and hopes the movement will catch on.
“It’s what’s going on in our country today that we all need everybody’s help and we want to step up,” he said.
To law enforcement, Knipp said: “You guys are putting your life on the line for us.
“Any time you’re on duty, it’s just our way of saying thank you.”
In response to those who weren’t happy with the sign, the KFC outlet stated: “Too bad. It stays up.”
Despite the debate, it’s certainly a thoughtful act of appreciation towards law enforcement.
So, what are your thoughts on this initiative?