A now former employee of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Winter Haven is apologizing after two police officers say he refused to serve them.
Adam Leatherberry, a police officer for the Lake Alfred Police Department, wrote about his experience Sunday night in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.
He wrote that he and his friend, Geoff Price, who was wearing his Winter Haven Police Department uniform, walked into Tropical Smoothie Cafe around 2:30 that afternoon.
He says the employee, later identified as Jake Hadden, saw them and said “Hell no!” and then told his colleague that “I’m not serving them, you can… it’s the cops! I refuse to serve them,” according to his account on Facebook.
The two officers left the restaurant and later reported the incident to the manager.
The manager of Tropical Smoothie has been very vocal about the incident on the store’s Facebook page, notifying the community that she immediately fired the employee.
Hadden describes it as a misunderstanding.
“It got blew out of proportion and put on Facebook and now everybody thinks I’m a cop hater. I have nothing against them personally. It's just I was in a bad mood. I over reacted and I apologize. I should have never said anything,” he told ABC Action News.
He said it was at the end of his shift, and he was getting ready to close and didn’t want to walk over to the register and help anyone, whether they were cops or not.
“It’s not that I wouldn’t have made their food, it’s just I didn’t want to go up to the register and take any more orders because I had been up there all day long.”
Hayden said he sent a message to the officers to apologize.