Denny’s Manager Writes ‘Add $15 for Life Alert Button’ on Choking Patron’s Receipt

The manager later called the woman's family to express regret and defend his actions
Denny’s Manager Writes ‘Add $15 for Life Alert Button’ on Choking Patron’s Receipt

Facebook/Sarah Saba

The restaurant maintains that it cannot fire its longtime employee ‘just for the sake of firing him.’

Bob Quigley, the manager of a Denny’s restaurant in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, will undergo “retraining” after writing on the receipt of a patron who choked during her meal, “Add $15 for Life Alert button.”

The patron’s daughter, Sarah Saba, posted the receipt in Facebook with the message: 

“As you all know my mom has had a few surgeries recently on her esophagus. She has trouble eating, swallowing and even keeping things down. She chokes when she eats and eating any meal is a process for her. To have a little normalcy in her day, she went to Denny's in Brooklyn Park, to try to eat on Monday afternoon. This is what the Manager, yes the Manager wrote on her bill!”

When we contacted Sarah for more details, she had just recently gotten off the phone with the owner of the Denny’s, who insisted that although Quigley would receive a “write-up,” he could not be fired over the incident because he was a longtime employee. The restaurant could, however, offer reimbursement and a free meal.

“My mom is sick and hasn’t eaten in five weeks,” Sarah told The Daily Meal. “My sister has to blend her food. When she finally got the clear from her doctors to eat, she chose Denny’s, and that’s how she was treated?”

Quigley, who called Sarah ostensibly to express his regrets, attempted to convince her that he had been joking, and that he “wasn’t meaning to offend or hurt somebody.”

Later, when the owner called Caroline Speikers, Sarah’s sister, the story changed. The manager had not, in fact, been referring to the choking patron, but to her 60-year-old waitress — noted on the receipt above as Susan — who “could get hurt by running around so much.”

The owner told Speikers that Quigley had intended to suggest that the waitress should be careful not break a hip. 

Though she didn’t buy it, Speikers asked the owner to consider that age discrimination is not necessarily a good quality for a manager to have. And why would he make fun of an employee by writing a comment on a customer’s receipt?

“Either he’s mocking someone who is ill and disabled, or he’s totally comfortable discriminating against someone’s age,” Speikers said. “He has a sick and twisted sense of humor, and should not be allowed around customers.”

When contacted by The Daily Meal, Quigley declined to comment, saying: “I can’t talk to the media, it’s already been dealt with. I wish I could, but I can’t.”

Denny's corporate headquarters have also been contacted for comment. 

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