News 3’s Top Trends: July 18

A Disney intern is back at work after being fired for tweeting an employee alligator sign, a campaign raises over $180k to send a homeless teen to college, and a local Taco Bell fires an employee who refused service to sheriff's deputies.

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Disney intern fired, rehired after tweeting alligators sign

(CBS News)
(CBS News)

A Walt Disney World intern is back on the job after she was briefly fired for tweeting a photo of a sign telling employees how to respond to questions about alligators in the theme park’s waters.

Shannon Sullivan says she was fired last week after posting the photo on Twitter. It told employees that if guests ask whether alligators live in the park’s waters, they should reply, “Not that we know of.” It added, “Please do not say that we have seen them before.”

“I was very offended by it and I was pretty vocal about it,” says Sullivan, a Disney College Program participant working in Magic Kingdom restaurants. She posted the photo and was fired.

Disney says the sign wasn’t authorized and was removed.

On Friday morning, Magic Kingdom Vice President Dan Cockerell paid a personal visit to Sullivan to offer her the job back. He says she will return to work until later this month, when her internship was originally scheduled to end.

The Disney park made headlines last month when a 2-year-old boy was killed by an alligator at the Seven Seas Lagoon last month.


More than $180,000 raised for homeless teen found sleeping in tent on Gordon State College campus

Fred Barley (CBS New York)
Fred Barley (CBS New York)

A homeless teenager found sleeping in a tent on Gordon State Campus in order to register for classes will be admitted into the dorms early Monday and has received overwhelming support and donations after his story went viral.

19-year-old Fred Barley told the officers that found him that he had biked six hours and more than 50 miles from Conyers to Barnesville on his little brother’s 20″ bike in 90 degree weather to make it to the college campus. Instead of arresting him for trespassing, the officers paid for Fred to stay in a hotel room.

“I could tell he was a good kid … who had been dealt a bad hand,” officer Dicky Carreker says.

A local resident Casey Blaney says she heard Fred’s story and donated to his hotel stay, spent time with him, and created the Success for Fred Facebook page and GoFundMe page.

As of Monday, donations have been concluded and the GoFundMe surpassed its $150k goal and raised a total $184, 266.


Local Taco Bell worker fired for refusing to serve Lee Co. deputies

Taco Bell says in an official release one of its employees at the Phenix City restaurant location has been fired after refusing to serve two Lee County Sheriff’s deputies.

Sheriff Jay Jones tells News 3 around 9:40 p.m. CDT on Saturday, the deputies went inside the Taco Bell on Hwy. 280.

When they approached the counter, Sheriff Jones says the cashier told the deputies that she wasn’t going to serve the deputies because of the law enforcement uniforms that they were wearing. Another customer inside the restaurant supported the cashier’s decision not to serve the deputies, saying “I didn’t want to eat with cops.”

The deputies then left the restaurant. No argument or fight ensued. Sheriff Jones tells News 3 that based on the law, people may not be denied based on race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. However, appearance is not specifically included. The sheriff calls the incident unfortunate.

“I’m very disappointed,” Sheriff Jones said. “We pride ourselves on treating people with basic respect.”

Taco Bell executives say they have reached out to the sheriff’s office to apologize.

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