Whataburger is the friend of night shift workers throughout Texas. It’s open 24 hours, and it sells breakfast starting at 11 p.m. What’s not to like? But two Texas police officers in Lewisville had the rare bad late-night Whataburger run Tuesday when an employee refused to serve them and said, “We don’t serve police officers.” As WFAA reports:

It happened at a restaurant off of I-35 near Main Street in Lewisville. Strawn City Marshal Michael Magovern and Officer Cameron Beckham stopped there Tuesday at about 8 p.m. to get dinner. Beckham works for the Milford Police Department.

Magovern told News 8 they were both in uniform and had just finished off-duty jobs at a nearby construction site. Magovern said when they tried to place their orders, the clerk said, “We don’t serve police officers.”

Magovern said he thought the man, who appeared to be in his 30s, was joking. He said when he asked if the statement was supposed to be a joke, the clerk said nothing.


The story went viral on Wednesday, leading to widespread outrage on social media. On Twitter, the #BoycottWhataburger tag picked up traction, prompting the company’s official account to respond personally to each tweeter with an apology.

The idea that not serving police officers is Whataburger’s official corporate policy is silly, obviously, and the company acted swiftly—the employee in question was fired on Wednesday, and the officers who were denied service were invited back to the restaurant for an in-person apology.

But Whataburger occupies an interesting role in the Texas culture wars right now, so this unfortunate timing is unfortunate for the company. In July, Whataburger announced that it would prohibit the open carry of firearms in its stores, which triggered outrage from Second Amendment enthusiasts. Private businesses, typically, are loathe to wade into politics—$6 from a liberal buys the same Whataburger combo meal as $6 from a conservative—but guns are more contentious than most political issues, and the company exercised its private property right to ban openly carried guns in the restaurant.

And with the polarized, with-us-or-against-us mentality that comes with the cultural divide around issues like guns and police right now, this incident will probably linger in the minds of some who already distrusted Whataburger.