Homeless man outraged when free meal contained gluten
Insensitivity from a Panera Bread restaurant in Waterbury, Connecticut has one man outraged this past weekend.
Sal Laeck, a man from the surrounding area was spotted wandering around the Imperial Chinese Buffet parking lot, a competing neighbor of Panera Bread, on one of the city’s busiest roads. When Panera workers approached Laeck, who they presumed to be a homeless man, and asked him if he would like a free meal courtesy of the restaurant, he was thrilled.
“I hadn’t had a warm meal in a while,” Laeck describes, “and when they asked me if I’d like a free meal to help me out, I couldn’t say no. I was so grateful, I thought, ‘Mama was right, there are still some good people out there.’”
All that glitters is not gold. Upon arrival, Laeck was furious. “I walked in there and all I saw was bread. Bread here, bread there, bread instead of bowls,” Laeck describes in a Seussical tone. “I’m surprised the toilet wasn’t a bread bowl.” He continued to describe the incident: “I thought, ‘How dare you? Are you people trying to poison me with your trash? Do you know how bad gluten even is for you?’” Clearly they did not. Larissa Fey, a Panera veteran manager of three years described the incident as “shocking” and “totally unexpected” and “what the hell is a gluten?”
Just as the incident occurred, a league of middle-aged moms from the Weight Watchers clinic next door came into the restaurant and were horrified that this man didn’t eat bread.
Kathy O’Connor, who describes herself as “just your average gal trying to get her life back together,” said that she “couldn’t believe that someone would refuse bread.” O’Connor explains, “I’ve been at Weight Watchers for years. Not continuously but still. And every time I see Panera do you know what I want to do? I want to take my four-year-old son and throw him through the glass window and steal all of Panera’s bread. If that’s not what you believe in fine, just don’t rub your sick dietary lifestyle in my face.”
Laeck said that while he’s gluten-free, “but not in the Celiac kind of way,” that he’s still horrified at the backlash he receives when he tells people about his condition. “I just want to live my life and if you people followed me you wouldn’t have to coerce yourselves into going back to Weight Watchers every other month.” Laeck allegedly screamed at fellow customers and subsequent havoc broke loose in the restaurant. Following the outburst, O’Connor reportedly distracted Laeck and store employees while fellow moms reportedly stole all of the store’s bread and ran off, leaving their children and their diets behind.
After phoning the police to break up the pair, Fey, although slightly surprised, described the situation as “just another typical day at the restaurant.”
Derek Marinaro is a sophomore exploratory major who now has a serious craving for cheddar and broccoli soup. Email him at [email protected].