Marine Corps veteran Brandon Rumbaugh is one of many Marine veterans that has had his entire life changed by the time he spent serving his country. In 2009 he lost both his legs when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while attempting to rescue a wounded member of his platoon in Afghanistan. For most people this would be a more than justifiable reason for using a handicap parking. However, this wasn’t enough for one GetGo convenience store in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. The employee and a customer insulted not only Rumbaugh but also his girlfriend. The employee reportedly told them that because she didn’t “shoot off” Rumbaugh’s legs he had no reason to park in the spot designated specifically for people with physical disabilities.
The Incident occured on July 17, 2015. Rumbaugh and his girlfriend arrived at the gas station. Rumbaugh remained in the car to collect garbage to throw in the gas station’s cans. While he was in the process of doing this he noticed another customer verbally berating his girlfriend. Rumbaugh exited the vehicle to investigate. Rumbaugh states that an customer made a snide remark about the couple using a handicap spot. Rumbaugh’s disability isn’t always apparent by simply looking at him. His prosthetics give him the appearance of not being disabled but still make it difficult to walk.
While he was explaining the situation to the customer a female employee began berating his girlfriend, telling them they had to reason to use a handicap spot. When Rumbaugh explained he was, in fact, handicapped after losing his legs in Afghanistan the employee replied:
“Why are you so upset? I’m not the reason you lost your legs. I didn’t shoot them off.”
Rumbaugh and his girlfriend left the gas station after the employee, named Kalthy, refused to allow the couple to speak to a manager or her superior. Rumbaugh went home and shared his experience on social media. The post went viral and forced the company to comment on the situation and take action. Rumbaugh’s Facebook post can be seen below.
The company released an official statement claiming that they fired the employee. They also issued a public apology to Rumbaugh.
“At Giant Eagle, Inc., having respect for others is essential to how we serve our communities, and is a belief we insist each Team Member hold in the highest regard. The recent comments made by a former Elizabeth GetGo Team Member were completely inappropriate and entirely unacceptable, resulting in the Team Member’s termination. We once again extend our sincere apologies to Mr. Rumbaugh for his unfortunate experience.”
Channel 11 News spoke with the employee who has not been named. They employee not only confirmed that she made the statement but even attempted to defend her actions by claiming Rumbaugh was acting belligerently. She stated that the video and audio footage from the store’s security cameras would prove her case. However, after reviewing the tapes Giant Eagle and GetGo decided to terminate the employee.