ORLANDO, Fla. – A Wendy's restaurant worker has been fired after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper discovered an old receipt that had been imprinted with a racially derogatory word.
The trooper told News 6 that he was in line to get dinner Tuesday night at the Wendy's restaurant at the corner of Rouse Road and University Boulevard when he saw the receipt laying next to the cash register.
Pictures show the receipt had a form of the "N" word at the top of it where customers' names or order numbers are typically printed.
"I said, I didn't just see that," he told News 6.
The trooper, who was on duty at the time, said he immediately thought of his children.
"If my kids were here eating dinner, and I had to show them this receipt or say they saw it?" the trooper said. "My 6-year-old is learning to read and the first thing he would say is, 'What is this word?'"
He said he stepped up to the counter to place his order.
"He was very cordial with me, and that really shocked me because I thought for sure that if this is sitting here for an hour or however long it was, how is he going to treat me?" the trooper said.
He said the worker even thanked him for his service.
News 6 reached out to Wendy's corporate offices and discovered they did not know about the receipt.
A spokeswoman said they launched an investigation immediately, working with the franchise owner to look through surveillance video and cash register records.
The franchise owner, JAE, issued a statement, saying, "While this receipt wasn't directed toward anyone in particular, we take this very seriously and find the language to be offensive and not in line with our values. This was a terrible judgment call by one of our employees, it's completely unacceptable and we no longer employ this individual."
The trooper said he's certain he wasn't the only person to see the word printed on the piece of paper, and he's not sure he will return to a Wendy's restaurant again. He said he first wants to make sure the company improves the way they train their employees.