Employee calls police on ‘good Samaritan’ trying to buy Atlanta homeless man a meal

ATLANTA — An Atlanta college student says a local restaurant called the police on her after denying to serve her for trying to do a good deed and buy a homeless man a meal.

Jo Ortega, a 24-year-old Georgia State University senior, told Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach that she was picking up a DoorDash order at the Popeye’s Chicken on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Midtown when she saw a homeless man she later learned goes by “Jazz.”

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Ortega says she thought she misunderstood when an employee refused to take her order.

“That’s when I proceeded to go to the window and was like ‘I want to purchase some food’ and she said ‘no, you’re not going to buy any food for him or any food for yourself,’” Ortega said.

A pair of TikTok videos documenting the ordeal has now been viewed more than six million times.

Video shows the police arrive at the restaurant, but Ortega says officers told her she did nothing wrong and thanked her for her kindness.


She says she also got on the phone with a manager with more authority who told her the employees were wrong and that she and Jazz could order anything they wanted with no charge.

“I hate it had to get to this point, hate that she was so rude, hate that she couldn’t explain it to me,” said Ortega. ”[I] just think people deserve to be treated like people.”

The general manger at the store did not want to comment Wednesday.

Popeyes’ corporate offices released a statement on Wednesday afternoon that read:

“At Popeyes®, we are committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect. We have ensured all employees at this restaurant have been provided with retraining to help navigate a range of guest interactions, such as the situation highlighted in the video.”

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Jazz, who ended up with 12 pieces of chicken and enough to share with another homeless person in the area, was grateful on the video.

Ortega now wants to track him down after starting an online fundraiser for the man and another to help other homeless people on the streets of Atlanta.

“Just so grateful that people actually want to help too. It’s not just me by myself,” said Ortega.