McDonald's Order Turns into Drive-Thru Horror After Worker Opens Fire on Customers: Police


Usually, if gunfire erupts at a drive-thru fast-food restaurant, it’s a robber trying to take money by force.

So, one can at least say this much about what happened at a Lakeland, Florida, McDonald’s on Friday: It was the cashier, not the customer, who opened fire, according to police.

According to WOFL-TV in Orlando, Chassidy Gardner is facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after the fast-food worker allegedly took exception to complaints from customers — and then took out a gun.

In a news release on social media, the Lakeland Police Department said the incident happened about 1 a.m.

“The dispute began in the drive through when the customers/Victims felt their order was incorrect,” the department said.

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“The employee, Chassidy Gardner (age 22), argued with the customers at the drive through window. Gardner threw a drink at the customers as they were attempting to [leave].”

The customers responded in kind, throwing drinks at Gardner, who proceeded to up the ante, according to police.

The employee armed herself with a handgun and came outside the McDonald’s to confront the customers, who had driven around the other side of the store, apparently desiring to continue the argument, the release said.

Security camera footage showed Gardner leaving the restaurant with her weapon, it said.

“While still outside, Gardner fired her weapon as the vehicle was leaving the parking lot and the Victim’s vehicle was struck at least once,” the release said.

There were indeed plenty of quips on social media regarding how quickly this escalated. (“They just wanted the ice cream machine to be working!” one person joked on Facebook.)

That being said, the shooting was part of a worrying trend, a retired law enforcement official told WOFL.

“What’s becoming disturbing is us hearing more about these types of stories,” said Orlando Rolon, former police chief of the Orlando Police Department.

“It’s unfortunate because once you fire that round, that round has no mercy,” Rolon said. “Wherever that round is going, whatever it strikes, it’s going to damage it or kill it.”

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In this case, the only mercy was that the round didn’t hit its target. It struck the customer’s vehicle and that was it.

And while things could be far worse for Gardner, Rolon noted the “McMix-up” will likely turn this young woman’s life upside-down.

“It was totally uncalled-for and unjustified for her to pull the gun on a customer through the drive-through, regardless of what the situation was, unless there was a risk of great bodily harm that was going to be brought on to her, or there is a situation where someone was engaging in some activity that could result in bodily harm,” he said.

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“I’m shocked that she had a weapon of that sort in a place such as a McDonald’s as an employee.”

No botched order is worth a heated confrontation, much less an incident that could have left someone dead and could leave another person spending a not-insignificant chunk of her life behind bars.

When this is what our society has come to, it’s little wonder that cultural trust is eroding and fear and anxiety are on the rise.

America needs a moral U-turn, and it needs it fast.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture