In such a time when police officers are often pitted against the citizens they are meant to protect, when leaked videos flood court cases and shootings always make the evening news, 18-year-old Zack Randolph thought that he would extend an olive branch in the form of a $2.75 cheesecake brownie.
Randolph, a Great American Cookies employee in Katy Mills Mall in Katy, Texas, was working his shift on Sunday, July 2 when a police officer came in, in hot pursuit of a local cheesecake brownie. When the officer came up to the counter, he didn’t expect that Randolph would offer to pay for his brownie out of his own pocket as a thank you for protecting and serving the community.
The small deed was met with startling backlash.
After Randolph paid for the officer’s food, the family behind the officer walked up and demanded, “Are you going to buy mine too?”
When Randolph explained that he only paid because the man was a police officer, the customers began verbally abusing him and calling him a “racist,” while threatening to beat him up. The customer’s wife threatened to slap him right there while the man tried to come behind the counter to attack him.
Randolph stood there in silence until the assistant manager and a coworker, hearing the commotion, came over to defuse the situation. The man then turned to Randolph and said, “I will get you fired.”
He was then handed his suspension.
On Tuesday, Randolph was called into the manager’s office where the manager said that the upper-managers wanted him be fired, even though the manager didn’t want that to happen.
Later, he was handed a suspension notice. It read: “He bought a cookie for a police officer and a customer wanted to physically fight him,” and that, “If this happens again he will be terminated.” Randolph was then put one a one-week suspension.
Randolph’s mother Tami wrote in a viral Facebook post, “Since when does buying a police officer a cookie give anyone else a reason to attack someone. And when did a Corporation want to FIRE someone for being KIND, taking what a customer said or did, regardless of how hateful they are.”
As the story gained notoriety through media outlets, the coverage for Great American Cookies quickly soured.
He was issued an apology and offered his job back.
The company issued a public apology via Facebook and reached out to Randolph, offering him his job back and to pay for the hours he was scheduled during the suspension. They also created a day where any law enforcement officer can receive a free cookie with their ID.
For Randolph, though, the whole situation was not just about the job. He thought it was a matter of respect, and he would do it again.
He told Fox 26, “A lot of people I know my age don’t support police officers. I don’t think it’s fair.”