Social media users are trolling Cracker Barrel after Bradley Reid Byrd of Milltown, Indiana asked why his wife was fired after 11 years of working at the restaurant and on the day before his mother’s birthday, too. To make matters worse, the restaurant chain, which is famous for making Southern comfort food and having a country store at each location, has yet to say why she was fired. The most Byrd was ever told about his wife’s firing was that “she wasn’t working out.” As of March 27, Byrd still doesn’t know why his wife was fired.
In his most recent statements, Byrd has begged people not to take their anger out on the local Indiana restaurant. He wants people to ask the main Cracker Barrel offices in Lebanon, Tennessee. “Please send all of your questions/comments to the home office. They are the ones who can answer them,” Byrd wrote on Facebook on March 24.
In a statement on March 25, Byrd wrote that he and his wife are real. He wasn’t making this up. He also wrote that they still haven’t heard from Cracker Barrel.
Byrd kicked off his second week of being an Internet celebrity by announcing on Facebook that he and his wife still haven’t heard from Cracker Barrel. He also teased a “possible interview to get some truth out there.”
Heavy.com has contacted Cracker Barrel and is still waiting on a response.
Here’s what you need to know about this bizarre situation.
1. Byrd Asked Cracker Barrel for a Reason for Firing His Wife
The situation, which was brought to wider attention by comedian Amiri King on March 21, started when Byrd bluntly wrote on Cracker Barrel’s Facebook page, “Why did you fire my wife?” When someone asked for a further explanation, Byrd wrote that there was none given.
“She was let go. I don’t know why. That is why I’m asking them. No answer yet. LOL,” he replied.
Byrd began writing about Nanette allegedly losing her job on February 27. He wrote:
To say I’m pissed off would be an understatement. After 11 years, those low lifes at Cracker Barrel let my wife go. I would really like to know why and those of you who know me these days, know that I WILL find out. In the mean time, if any of you would like to know also, please go to their Facebook page and ask them. I would really appreciate it. Their half assed excuse was that she wasn’t working out. After 11 YEARS? Come on. This old boy is STORMING!!!! You can’t even get people to work 40 hours these days and her AVERAGE week was 50 to 60. Needless to say, we WILL be seeing an attorney soon. If anybody knows a good labor attorney, please let me know. Thank you. I’d better quit now before I go too far.
He later wrote on March 3:
Going to use this life changing event to move on. Literally! Getting the house ready to put on the market and, “Move on”! Or maybe down…………. South. Don’t like winter but got a break this year. Stay tuned. Or NOT!
In a post on March 4, Byrd claimed that she missed getting vacation pay by two weeks because she was fired before the anniversary of the day she was hired. In one post, Byrd mentioned that a “Gwen Alexander” was responsible for firing his wife. According to her LinkedIn page, Alexander has been a district retail manager at Cracker Barrel in Indiana since 2003. Alexander recently deleted her LinekedIn page.
Here is one to think about. Nanette received a check for her remaining vacation. (for last year). Her hire in date Was March 11th. Yes, March 11th. Coming up next week. Meaning no vacation pay for next year. Dang. Missed it by 2 weeks. Anyway, on the check stub is a column called “CB” cares”. It is a way to give to people who work for Cracker Barrel who have fallen on hard times. I’m sure you know where this is going. Nanette, being the great person that she is has contributed to this since she hired in (11 years) and of course on her LAST vacation check, yes they took out for CB cares. MY question is. CB cares about WHO? I told her she should put in for ALL of that money back. I think SHE needs CB cares. LOL LOW LIFES! This is the REAL way they operate. I’m STILL waiting for an answer to my question. “Why did you fire my wife? I send them an e mail EVERY day with that question and will continue until I get an answer. Probably be a “Road trip” to Lebanon, Tennessee to ask in person. #STILL PISSED
Byrd also wrote a one-star review on The restaurant’s Facebook page on March 3. He wrote that it was “not very nice” of them to fire his wife.
In another post on March 24, Byrd wrote:
Good morning. I would like to repeat that your local restaurant/store had nothing, and I repeat. NOTHING to do with this. Please send all of your questions/comments to the home office. They are the ones who can answer them……………………………………………………or NOT! #wellyouknow
Byrd added on March 25:
Good morning. In answer to a few questions. Yes. We are real. Yes. My wife was terminated. Yes. She had worked there for 11 years. NO. It was NOT on my birthday. I hope this clears some things up. Oh yeah. NO we have NOT heard anything. I know that people are amused by this situation and hope you can understand that for us this a serious situation………………………#stillwaiting
On March 26, Byrd wrote:
Good Sunday morning. Not much to say today except. Yes we are real. Yes we are still waiting. Could be an interesting week.
2. A Change.org Petition to Get ‘Justice’ for Nanette Has Over 19,000 Signatures
Thanks to King’s posts on the situation, Cracker Barrel has continued to be bombarded with messages on its social media accounts from people seeking answers. It even inspired the hashtag #JusticeForBradsWife. Others have used the hashtag #BradsWifeMatters.
There is also a Change.org petition, which was started by Timothy McCardell II. It has over 19,000 signatures from people who want to see “justice” for Nanette Byrd.
“On a day that should have been full of cake and laughter, there was sorrow. It was Brad’s birthday (actually it was the day before his mom’s 82nd birthday, but…) and his wife, Nanette, was unfairly, unjustly, terminated from her employment,” the petition reads. “11 years, Cracker Barrel. 11 long, hard years. It is for this reason, we demand answers.”
Now that the has petition reached 10,000 signatures, McCardell plans on presenting it to the Cracker Barrel corporate headquarters.
3. Google Reviewers Bombarded the Restaurant’s Page With Negative Reviews
Overall, the location Nanette worked at had four stars on Google Reviews before Byrd’s post. Of course, since Nanette was fired, there have been several one-star reviews.
One reviewer claimed that Nanette was the “best server” the restaurant had, although Nanette had worked as a retail manager at the Cracker Barrel.
“Was a great place to go to also the food was great! Until recently when they fired brads wife,” Steve H. wrote in his review. “She was the best server there always had a great smile, attitude, and was always super friendly. I can’t return and give business to a place that can just fire someone after 11 years of great service and on her husbands birthday at that!! Shame on you.”
“I was on my way to eat at this fine establishment until I heard that you fired Brad’s wife,” Jennifer Carder wrote in her review. “How could you do this to Nanette on Brad’s birthday, no less? Thanks for nothing Gwen! I can’t believe that y’all did this to this family after 11 years! Cracker Barrel will never be the same without Nanette! Never!”
4. Cracker Barrel Still Hasn’t Said Why Nanette Was Fired
Byrd wrote on his Facebook page that he still hasn’t heard an explanation from Cracker Barrel. As previously noted, he said the “half-assed” reason he was given was that “She wasn’t working out.”
However, he said he does not want to see other workers at the Corydon Cracker Barrel punished because they are great people.
“Good morning.I still have not heard from ‘said’ company,” Byrd wrote. “I would like everyone to remember that some very good people work for them. The people at the Corydon location are our friends (like family) and are just trying to make a living. So if you want answers, please direct questions to the home office. They are the ones who fired my wife. Thanks to all for the continued support and I will keep you informed.”
However, it was Bryd himself who had asked other people to keep pestering Cracker Barrel on social media until he got an answer. “If any of my friends have a ‘question’ for Cracker Barrel Old Country store, go to their facebook page. There, you can post your ‘question.’ And wait. And wait. And wait for an answer. Thank you,” he wrote on March 14.
5. Cracker Barrel Once Fired a Vietnam Veteran for Giving a Corn Muffin to a Needy Man
This isn’t the first time Cracker Barrel has made a controversial firing. Back in June 2014, Joe Koblenzer told Fox News that he was fired after helping a needy man. The man told Koblenzer, a Vietnam veteran who was 73 years old at the time, that he needed mayonnaise and tarter sauce. Koblenzer gave the man what he asked for and a corn muffin.
“He was happy, I felt good about it,” Koblenzer told Fox & Friends. He did admit to other rule violations, like taking a sip of Coke and giving a woman a free cup of coffee to go.
“Mr. Koblenzer received multiple counselings and written warnings reminding him about the company’s policies and the consequences associated with violating them,” Cracker Barrel said in a statement at the time. “On the fifth occasion, again per company policy, Mr. Koblenzer was terminated. Cracker Barrel is grateful and honors Mr. Koblenzer’s service to our country as we honor all service men and women and their families.”
In 2015, Top Class Actions reported that Cracker Barrle settled a wage and hour class action lawsuit, filed by an associate manager who claimed the company wasn’t paying him for overtime hours.
Back in 1991, the company was under fire for not hiring gays. The New York Times reported at the time that the Tennessee-based company fired nine gay employees. “In the past, we have always responded to the values and wishes of our customers,” the company said at the time. “Our recent position on the employment of homosexuals in a limited number of stores may have been a well-intentioned over-reaction to the perceived values of our customers and their comfort levels with these individuals.”
Today, the company has a 55 rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Buyers Guide. This means that it is a business that has “taken steps toward a fair-minded workplace and receive a moderate workplace equality score.”