After a military veteran quit, Food Lion is changing its face mask guidelines. Management told Gary Dean, 69, that the store wouldn’t allow him to wear his American Flag face mask.
Dean worked for the grocery store chain in Havelock, North Carolina. His manager said Dean’s face mask had offended someone and breached company guidelines. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Dean chose to resign from his job rather than remove the mask. He felt the corporate decision conflicted with his own values and patriotism.
Dean’s father also served in World War II. During the Vietnam War, he lost a close friend of his fighting overseas. Out of respect for them, Dean said he refused to disregard the flag.
“When you lose a friend fighting for your freedoms, you get angry when people disrespect the flag,” Dead told CBS17. “I had to leave on principle.”
Initially, Food Lion issued a statement in which it outlined its guidelines regarding company attire.
“At Food Lion, we have great respect for the American flag. Like many other organizations, we also have policies that guide the attire and conduct of associates in the workplace,” Food Lion wrote.
The company requires its employees to wear masks. Employees can use one provided by the company or one of their own. The face masks must also adhere to company guidelines and regulations, according to the statement.
“The policy prohibits associates from wearing clothing with writing, insignia or symbols,” the company wrote. “The dress code is meant to ensure a consistent and professional representation of our associates inside of our stores.”
Food Lion changed their guidelines after the story went viral.
After the story involving Dean went viral, the company decided to change its guidelines as a result. In a new statement, the company adhered its mask guidelines to allow its employees to wear the American flag.
“While we continue to maintain our uniform standards requiring associates to wear masks without writing, insignia or symbols, we will allow associates to wear masks with the American flag that meet this standard,” Food Lion wrote. “We appreciate and thank our more than 77,0000 associates who are working hard every day to safely nourish our neighbors in the towns and cities we serve.”
Food Lion didn’t comment on whether they invited Dean back to his old position. The veteran doesn’t understand how anyone could find the American flag offensive.
“Why would anybody for any reason ever be offended by the United States of America and the stars and stripes?” he asked.
[H/T: WECT News 6]