POCATELLO, IDAHO — A cafeteria worker at an Idaho middle school was fired last week after giving one hungry, 12-year-old girl a free meal after the student told her she didn't have any money.
Irving Middle School believes that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch and hoped to instill that message by giving their warm-hearted employee, Dalene Bowden, the boot, even after she offered to pay back the $1.70 for the girl's meal.
Bowden received a signed, one-page letter from the Department of Human Resources saying that she had been fired for "theft" of student property and "inaccurate transactions" when handling food.
Bowden admits she did break the school's rules, but doesn't believe she deserved to be fired. She says she's never been written up for poor job performance, but was verbally reprimanded once in the past for giving one student a free cookie.
A local resident started an online petition hoping to convince school officials to rehire Bowden. As of Wednesday, nearly 30,500 people have signed the petition.