An employee at a convenience store in Pennsylvania has been fired after a confrontation with a veteran and double amputee who parked in a handicap spot.
Marine veteran Brandon Rumbaugh said he and his girlfriend stopped Sunday afternoon at the store. When his girlfriend went into the store, a customer questioned why they were parked in a handicap spot.
“I pulled into the handicap spot, like I do all the time, and she gets out and goes in the store, and I was going to come in after her,” Rumbaugh said.
Rumbaugh lost both of his legs in Afghanistan in 2009 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while rescuing a fellow Marine from another IED explosion. When he saw the customer questioning his girlfriend, he approached him.
“I asked him, ‘What gives you the right to confront her? She had nothing to do with it. Come outside and confront me if you're that concerned about it,’” Rumbaugh said.
An employee then got involved.
Rumbaugh said the employee asked, “Why are you so upset? I'm not the reason you lost your legs. I didn't shoot them off.”
The employee was then asked by Rumbaugh to repeat what she had said.
“She actually repeated it,” Rumbaugh said.
He shared the encounter in a Facebook post that has been shared hundreds of times.
WPXI spoke with the employee, who did not deny making the statement to Rumbaugh. She said the customer was apologizing to Rumbaugh, who she claims was being belligerent, and that she wouldn’t have said anything if she hadn’t been provoked.
“You can review video and audio. I don’t think I said anything out of line for what was happening. I didn't threaten her, call her names,” Rumbaugh said.
Giant Eagle, a grocery store chain in Pennsylvania which owns the convenience store chain, called Rumbaugh to apologize for the behavior of the employee, who has been fired.
The following statement was released Thursday by Giant Eagle:
“At Giant Eagle, Inc., having respect for others is essential to how we serve our communities, and is a belief we insist each Team Member hold in the highest regard. The recent comments made by a former Elizabeth GetGo Team Member were completely inappropriate and entirely unacceptable, resulting in the Team Member's termination.”
“We once again extend our sincere apologies to Mr. Rumbaugh for his unfortunate experience.”