B.C. man claims Tim Hortons refused to sell him sandwich for homeless panhandler

The Kamloops Tim Hortons outlet said the issue had to do with how the sandwich was ordered

  • Jan. 28, 2019 1:04 p.m.

—Kamloops this Week

A Kamloops man said a local Tim Hortons outlet refused to sell him a sandwich he wanted to give to a homeless person, but store management said the issue had to do with how the sandwich was ordered, not with the fact the food was destined for the panhandler.

Chilton Nystoruk said staff at the Sahali Tim Hortons outlet would not serve him once they learned he was purchasing food for a panhandler who was outside the store.

Nystoruk detailed his experience in a Facebook post that has received hundreds of comments and shares.

READ MORE: South Okanagan panhandler sued by city accepts plea deal

After he had placed his order while still in line in the drive-thru on Saturday, Nystoruk said a homeless man approached him, asking for money.

“I said, Sorry, I don’t have any change. I only have my debit card.’ So he asked if I could put in an order for a sandwich for him,” Nystoruk said, noting he was feeling generous and agreed. The homeless man went inside the store to receive the order and Nystoruk placed the order at the drive-thru window.

After he mentioned the sandwich was for the homeless man, Nystoruk said, the employee refused to take the order, citing problems with panhandlers.

Nystoruk said he asked to speak with a manager, who he said confirmed the restaurant wouldn’t be able to sell him a sandwich for the man. Nystoruk said the manager then asked him to drive forward and told him he could come into the store, but that they still couldn’t sell him a sandwich.

Once inside, Nystoruk said he was again told he could not buy the homeless man a sandwich, Instead, another customer bought the man a $10 gift card, which he said was used by the man shortly after.

When KTW called the Sahali Tim Hortons outlet, the manager who dealt with Nystoruk was not working, but another manager who was familiar with what happened explained it is not the company’s policy to refuse orders for the homeless. The manager said the issue was with Nystoruk trying to place an order at the drive-thru window for someone inside the restaurant, with the transaction creating delays in the drive-thru lineup of vehicles.

The manager, who did not give her name, said it’s not uncommon for customers to order food for other people.

“That’s fine. That’s happened lots of time. People usually order on the speaker box and go back and take it to them,” she said. “We don’t have any problem with it, but the thing was he wanted to order on the drive-thru window.”

READ MORE: B.C. program helps homeless become college grads

Nystoruk said he created the Facebook post to share his experience with his friends.

“I felt pretty bothered about this. I didn’t want to make a scene or anything, but it wasn’t cool,” he said.

“I understand it could be frustrating because there are so many [panhandlers], but to interfere with me assisting somebody … It just made me sick to my stomach.”

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