NY McDonald's Manager Fired After Paying For Firefighters' Meals

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OLEAN, NY (CBS) -- After Olean, NY, firefighters braved sub-zero temperatures to put out a house fire, a manager at a McDonald's there saw a way to help. When firefighters ordered 25 breakfast sandwiches and hash browns, Heather Levia pulled $83 out of her pocket and paid for it herself.

"Just because I appreciate everything they do," she said.

A little bit later, another department ordered $70 dollars worth of food, so Levia contacted her boss to see if the company would pick up the tab.

According to her, they regularly give police officers free meals.

"It's very common in our store," she noted.

In this case though, her boss said no, that they don't donate food. Levia called the corporate office too, but got the same answer. So, Levia and her fellow co-workers again picked up the tab.

When word spread that Levia paid the bill, some firefighters called her boss and complained, thinking the restaurant made her feel obligated to pay for their meals.

At her next shift, after eight years of working for McDonald's, Levia was fired. She said she was told it was because she swore at a superior, which she denies.

"I did say this is freaking ridiculous, but it was not implied to anybody," she said.

"It's just wrong. I wish the communities would change and help each other out. I wish that things didn't have to be the way they are. And if losing my job is going to speak out to the community, then that's what it's going to do."

Allegany firefighters say they never expect free food and were grateful for the gesture.

"It was a shock. We certainly regret the fact she lost her job. We can't speak on corporate policy because we don't know the background of it," said Allegany Fire Media Officer Gordon Scott.

"It was a sad affair because a gentleman lost a home. And now it's even worse because we know now that this gal apparently lost her job because of it."