Are homeless really banned from a local McDonald’s?
Richard Renfro brought a $20 bill and an appetite to one of his favorite spots for a cheap meal, the McDonald’s on 30th and K streets in Midtown. He was expecting a simple transaction; instead, an employee told Renfro to get out of the restaurant or they’d call the police.
“They said I smelled bad and that I had to leave,” explained Renfro, who is homeless, has no legs and is restricted to a wheelchair. He also suffers from stage-four bedsores.
He’s not alone: Numerous members of the area’s homeless population have complained lately about being kicked out of this particular McDonald’s branch, at 3006 K Street. The turning away of homeless patrons began in early January, several homeless-community members explained.
“They just started really recent,” said Renfro, who thinks “something happened” to the store’s policy toward homeless. “Before, they were nice; they used to let me drink a cup of coffee there.”
Majeed Hunter has been homeless in Sacramento for many years and says he no longer plans to frequent to the Midtown McDonald’s for fear of embarrassment. “I’m not even going to go in there, because they are kicking everyone out,” Hunter said. “I mean, they’re calling the police over it. It’s a terrible feeling to have.”
Hunter said he doesn’t view McDonald’s as a safe haven, but instead one of the few spots in town to find a low-priced meal or a hot cup of coffee. He feels that the homeless community is being discriminated against unfairly.
Ron Vaughn, who has been homeless on the streets of Sacramento for roughly a year, said he was asked to leave the same McDonald’s location because his bike and trailer were locked up to a pole outside. “They were definitely rude about it,” Vaughn recalled. “I heard they have been doing it to a lot of people. They’ve been like that for a while, and it’s only toward homeless.”
In fact, Vaughn’s pretty heated about the ordeal. “All the homeless need to either get together and fight against them or just stop going there totally,” he said.
The restaurant’s manager, Karla Rojas, declined comment. She explained that McDonald’s policy is to direct all media inquiries to Moroch Partners, a public-relations firm.
“I don’t know if that happened or when it happened,” said Jake Mossawir, of Moroch’s Sacramento branch. “All I know is that it shouldn’t have happened, if it did, and it won’t be happening moving forward.”
Mossawir explained that there is no policy in place that directs managers or crew to not serve homeless people. That said, this specific McDonald’s has had problems recently with loitering and people bringing in outside cups and not paying for drinks, he explained, and the staff at the location was told it was OK to ask those people to leave.
“I think there was some confusion,” Mossawir conceded of the policy. “I think there may have been some miscommunication in that process if they were denying people. That shouldn’t be the case.”
He said a manager’s meeting on January 20 would help clarify any miscommunication.
“The most diverse groups of people come to the K Street restaurant,” Mossawir said. “It’s located as a centerpiece of the city. … We see all types of people. We will continue to provide a clean, safe environment for everyone who comes in.”