Chef José Andrés has developed a well-earned reputation for sticking up for the little guy. When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, he hurried to the island and headed up an enormous effort to feed hurricane victims. When the government shut down, he fed federal workers who had gone weeks without pay. This time around, Andres has offered a job to a New Hampshire cafeteria worker who was fired for letting a student without money take food.
Bonnie Kimball had been working in the lunchroom at Mascoma Valley Regional High School for over four years when she received a termination letter from her employer, Café Services, which stated, “[A] District Manager was on-site and witnessed a student coming through the line with multiple food items that you did not charge him for. This is in strict violation of our Cash Handling Procedures, the School Charge Policy and Federal Regulation governing free meals.”
The total cost of the food Kimball gave away? $8. And Kimball said the kid returned the next day and paid his tab.
When Andrés heard of Kimball’s story, he called her a “hero” and offered her a job at his company, Think Food Group, which runs all 28 of his restaurants and his product line.
TFG’s home office is in Washington, D.C., and Andrés’s restaurants can be found throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Puerto Rico, though none are close to where Kimball lives in New Hampshire. Still, the offer is much more generous than another public offer she received: Café Services offered to rehire her after the incident went viral. She declined, stating that the offer was just to “save face.”