Governor Goes Into a Grocery Store — Cook Gets Fired

Photograph by Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer/AP Photo

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, left, licks icing off a knife after he helped cut a cake celebrating Wake Tech Community College’s 50th birthday in Raleigh, N.C., on Oct. 16, 2013.

Governor goes into a grocery store.

And the cook at Reid’s Fine Foods offers one finger in five for visiting Republican Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina.

So the gourmet shop in Charlotte fires the chef.

This is no joke.

And the press has not been good for the governor.

This is a chief executive who has officiated on basketball courts for 10 years and served as mayor of Charlotte even longer, he explained in a weekend essay in the Charlotte Observer.

“My family and I have had our share of being booed, yelled at, cussed and sadly even physically threatened. It’s the job that I signed up for and I couldn’t be more proud to serve the great state of North Carolina,” the governor wrote.

“This past Sunday afternoon while I was with members of my family for lunch, an employee said hello with one finger instead of five. I responded with a simple `thank you.’ He then said, `Thanks for nothing.’”

In the confrontation between governor and cook, the governor is implying, it is the cook who came out of the finger-wagging saga as the oppressed victim – the governor’s security detail complained to the shop owner after the incident. McCrory complains that the episode has been “much written about.”

“In an era when even the president of the United States was insulted during the State of Union address, we shouldn’t be rewarding those who behave inappropriately by giving them fame,” McCrory wrote. “North Carolinians deserve better.”

It was Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina who yelled at President Barack Obama addressing a joint session of Congress in 2009: “You lie.” (No single-finger salute was recorded, though.)

Drew Swope, the 45-year-old former cook at Reid’s, says the governor was yelling at him. He allows that he ”did speak out of turn.”  Yet he found it “shocking” that the governor “had me excluded from the workplace because I upset his feelings.”

“I don’t make a lot of money,” Swope told the paper. “Life is hard. Everyone needs to work.”

Shop-owner Tom Coker says the firing had nothing to do with the fact that it was the governor who was insulted.

“The governor couldn’t have been more gracious,” Coker said of a conversation he later had with McCrory and his security team about the encounter. “It was an inappropriate comment to a customer… It’s not acceptable in any workplace, especially in the service industry to treat your customers that way.”

Maybe the congressman needs a cook.

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