A Fort Worth police officer walks into a Wendy’s to get a burger.
No, this is not the first line of a joke quickly followed by a clever punch line.
It’s a true story and amounts to a sad commentary on mankind’s limitless stupidity and insensitivity.
When the cop, dressed in uniform, walks up to the counter to place his order, the clerks turn their backs and walk into the kitchen. A drive-through clerk in the corner refused to make eye contact with the officer.
The Wendy’s logo — a cartoon of a freckle-faced girl with red pigtails — smiled down upon the officer as he left the store without his dinner.
Later, Fort Worth police tweeted out a complaint on the officer’s behalf. “What’s the beef?” asked the tweet. It named the restaurant location on Interstate 20 near Trail Lake Drive in southwest Fort Worth.
Wendy’s quickly responded with its own tweet, saying the company was “abruptly handling the situation.” We suspect one or more employees were fired.
Clearly, the misguided Wendy’s crew relished the idea of using this officer to register their dislike of local law enforcement in general. Maybe it had something to do with their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Or maybe not.
The officer is not a symbol of police brutality, or a symbol of anything else. He was just a guy looking for a quick meal. The thoughtless and cruel Wendy’s crew laid upon him the misdeeds of rogue officers across the country.
In any event, their actions made no sense. Why would any thinking person hold a whole profession responsible for the misdeeds of a few others in far-flung corners of the nation? It would be like suspecting all school teachers of pedophilia just because a few commit the crime each year.
In America, we do not believe in guilt by association. Your friend might be a bank robber. It doesn’t mean you are a bank robber.
A hungry guy in Fort Worth might be a cop. But it doesn’t mean he should be disrespected because a Chicago cop shoots an innocent person in the back.
One day — who knows when — the Wendy’s crew members will mature and grow wiser. They will call 911 for assistance. It might be after a traffic wreck or after a home burglary.
A polite and helpful police officer will show up to assist them. He won’t care what color they are or whether they’re Democrats or Republicans, rich or poor.
They will recall the time they turned their backs on a man for no reason. And they will shudder with regret — especially if the cop who shows up is the one they disrespected that day at the Wendy’s.