It was the last week of school in 2013. Johnny Cook, a bus driver in Haralson County, Georgia, couldn’t believe it when a middle-schooler approached him and told him he was hungry. The reason? His lunch card was 40 cents short, so he didn’t get to eat lunch that day.
Cook had a brief conversation with the boy, and when he got back home he couldn’t stop thinking about it. Restless and frustrated, he took to Facebook to describe what happened:
A middle schooler got on my bus this evening and said Mr. Johnny I’m hungry. I said why are you, hungry buddy? Didn’t you eat lunch? He said no sir I didn’t have any money on my account. I said they would let you charge it? No sir.
Huh! What! This child is already on reduced lunch and we can’t let him eat. Are you kidding me? I’m certain there was leftover food thrown away today. But kids were turned away because they didn’t have .40 on their account.
As a taxpayer, I would much rather feed a child than throw it away. I would rather feed a child than to give food stamps to a crack head.
Cook’s Facebook post went viral, but the next day at school, the superintendent called him into his office. The bus driver was given two options: either recant his Facebook post or be fired.
He chose the latter.
Despite the public outcry over Cook’s firing, the school district backed up their decision by saying they have a strict Facebook policy, which he broke.
But Cook said he didn’t regret sharing the story online, and wouldn’t take it back.”I’m proud of the reaction and I’m proud I was able to make a stand when some people may not be able to,” he said. “And maybe I was able to make a change, in some way, cause a little change.”
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