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Wendy’s manager grilled after claiming poor service was due to town's drug addicts

Mike Cherico

People who eat fast food in Wareham, Massachusetts are heated over statements made by a fast food manager who blamed poor service at a local Wendy's due to the town's population of opioid addicts.

"I apologize for your experiences at this location,” Wendy's District Manager Keith Edward Helger explained when customer Matthew Rose complained about his poor service, according to Daily Mail.

It is what Helger said next in his email to Rose that has left people in the town furious.

“Not an excuse but the town of Wareham has little to no talent pool to hire from. This is an ongoing issue in that area. We are constantly interviewing and hiring any and all qualified candidates. Unfortunately those candidates are hard to come by as most are recovering addicts and we cannot hire them,” Helger stated in defense of the poor-functioning Wendy’s.

"Yes, we do have an opiod problem here in town, like every other town in this area, but I find it very interesting that the other fast food places near them seem to be finding decent employees - that tells me the problem isn't the 'talent pool' it's the management team - including the idiot who decided that an apology needed to include a slap at the town and its citizens," local resident and former Wendy's customer, Aprilleigh Knapik Lauer shares exclusively with Fox Business.

"We are a community who looks out for each other - you should see the generosity on our various Facebook pages when someone hits hard times. We, including those who are recovering addicts, deserve better than to be disrespected by a closed-minded individual drunk on a little bit of power," Lauer says.

Not only are the residents coming after the manager, but Fox Business has uncovered that the Wareham Board of Health has also recently held a public hearing on August 7, to discuss, "Wendy's Mr. Keith Helger - Violations to State Sanitary Food Code."

Rose was shocked by Helger’s comments. "Completely cruel. [It] didn't even touch on the problems I told him,' Rose said to local news outlet WCVB.

“Saying that the town of Wareham is full of junkies and people that have no viable talent to work in a fast food restaurant - that is more than heartless.”

As of January, 2019, the minimum wage in Massachusetts is $12.00, which is above the average hourly salary of Wendy's crew members across the country which sits at $9.00 according to GlassDoor.com.

Wendy’s defended themselves against Helger’s harsh statements, “These comments are inconsistent with our company’s values and do not reflect Wendy’s hiring practices. We work hard to create a welcoming and inclusive environment in our restaurants and will address this appropriately," the chain said in a statement released to Daily Mail.

Wareham is home to about 22,640 proud residents in the middle of a state struggling with America’s drug epidemic. “Massachusetts ranked among the top ten states with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths involving opioids,” according to Drugabuse.gov.

“In 2017, there were 1,913 drug overdose deaths involving opioids in Massachusetts—a rate of 28.2 deaths per 100,000 persons, which is twofold higher than the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons,” the government-run website explains.

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"It makes me sad to live in a town where people agree with this statement,” shared Facebook user Amy Gaboury, regarding Helger’s opinion of Wareham residents. “You believe your town is filled with people with no talent?? People in recovery don't deserve a second chance in life?"

"The place was never clean, so, assuming it was just the dining room (because they inspect the kitchen), we started only using the drive-through, but orders were often wrong," Lauer continued to explain about her experience at the Wendy's in question.

"I got really fed up with them being closed when they were supposed to be open, often with employees sitting right outside in the parking lot having a smoke," Lauer continued to explain.

"I can only assume they were waiting for a manager, because if they were management they likely would have been inside instead of hanging around the parking lot. We stopped using that particular Wendy’s about 2 years ago because I was sick of the constant problems.”

Fox Business reached out to Keith Helger for a statement and has yet to hear back.

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