Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hearse Drivers Carrying Veteran Fired For Donut Stop

Two Florida hearse drivers have been fired from their jobs after they were caught stopping at a Dunkin’ Donuts with a flag-draped coffin in the back of the vehicle.
From ABC13:
Rob Carpenter spotted the hearse in the parking lot of a New Port Richey Dunkin’ Donuts on Tuesday with its curtains open and the coffin visible, ABC affiliate WFTS-TV reports.

In the coffin was the body of 84-year-old Lt. Col. Jesse Coleman, a decorated soldier who served in Korea and Vietnam. The hearse was transporting him from Veterans Funeral Care to his funeral when the drivers decided to make a pit stop at the donut shop.
Carpenter confronted the driver and sent images to VeteranWarriors. The group posted the images to Facebook.
Funeral home director Jim Rudolph says he has since fired the men.
“That’s absolutely terrible,” he told WFTS-TV. “It’s not what we do. That’s absolutely a total lack of respect.”

Clearly, these two hearse drivers weren’t thinking at all when they decided to make that abrupt pit stop at Dunkin’ Donuts with an American war hero in the back. The disrespect is absolutely astounding.
But there is some good to come out of this story. The concerned citizen who snapped the photos should be praised for his quick and deliberate actions. Rather than posting to social media as a conversation piece or a joke, he immediately forwarded the pictures to an online veterans’ group. This showed a great deal of prudential insight.
According to reports, the family of the deceased veteran has forgiven the drivers, both in their 70s. I don’t know if I could do that, but their ability to forgive and move on is admirable and courageous. This is a family America can be proud of, in more ways than one.
Finally, the two drivers, according to the funeral home director at least, have also expressed remorse over their poor judgment.
Fox News has much more on the viral story:
Rob Carpenter snapped photos of the hearse, which he spotted at a Dunkin’ Donuts in New Port Richey, Fla., on Tuesday.
He sent photos to the Veteran Warriors group, which shared them on Facebook.
“I was physically ill when I saw that, and I was very upset,” Lauren Price, of Veteran Warriors, said. …
[Lt. Col. Jesse] Coleman’s family said they have forgiven the funeral home. They will lay Coleman to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
Carpenter told Tampa’s WFLA-TV that he waited outside for the funeral home workers to come back so he could confront them about their disrespect. …

Carpenter, whose own father served this country in the military, described his confrontation with the driver.
“I’m like, ‘Is this really a body in here?’ and he says, ‘Yes,’ and I said, ‘So you have a dead soldier in the back of your hearse and you’re stopping to get coffee?’ And he didn’t say anything.”
Carpenter said the men didn’t seem at all remorseful.
The director of the funeral home, Jim Rudolph, said the two drivers, in their 70s, had stellar records and were very remorseful over what happened.
But he said in the end, he could not give the men a “redo” even though Coleman’s family did not think the drivers should lose their jobs.

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