Allens Chick-Fil-A receipt
Olymphia and David Allen were angered by the description put on their receipt during a recent visit to a Chick-Fil-A in Goodyear. Photo by Jay Taylor

A trip to the drive-thru has triggered a storm of controversy for a fast-food restaurant and heartache for a Maricopa Army veteran.

David Allen and his wife Olymphia were hungry after a day of running errands last Thursday with their 10-year-old nephew in Goodyear. Olymphia wanted something to eat before starting the hour-long drive back to their home in Rancho El Dorado.

They stopped at the Chick-Fil-A on North Dysart Road, but when they got the receipt for their order, their day changed for the worse.

“We ordered through the drive-thru,” she said. “They asked David for his name and repeated his name back three times. Then she asked us to move up and they’ll take your money. When we got to window, the young man was laughing and said, ‘Is this for Biggie?’ We asked them, ‘Is that what they put down for a name?'”

Well, almost. The couple’s receipt had the phrase “2BIGGIE” in the name slot, a phrase that had a huge impact on the Iraq war veteran who has struggled with weight and other physical and mental health issues since receiving a medical discharge from the Army 10 years ago. He served for eight years and was deployed four times to Iraq before leaving the service as a sergeant.

“It just ruined everything, because David has worked so hard on his weight loss journey,” said Olymphia. “His weight gain is actually because of medications that he has been prescribed to sustain him from all of the injuries that he has incurred. It’s not as if he’s just sitting around and overeating. These are medications he will be on for the duration of his life. His body is broken up. It was hurtful and it was disheartening.”

She added that David is seeking mental health treatment to keep him motivated in his journey, and he has started the process so he could lose enough weight to qualify for weight loss surgery.

“But this blew out of the box the two years of work we’ve done,” she added.

After they saw the insulting phrase on the receipt, Olymphia asked to see a manager. She said he “made excuse after excuse for how the name got on the receipt,” claiming it was a miscommunication due to the wearing of masks.

“But the girl repeated his name back to us three times,” she said. “There is no way that was a miscommunication.”

Bruce Ploeser, the franchise owner and operator of the restaurant, said he regrets the incident and the impact it had on the Allens.

“The Allens’ experience was not acceptable,” he said on Friday. “It’s not who we are. I’m disappointed. I think any time we let somebody down we’re not pleased with that. We strive for a high level of service and we missed the mark. We want everybody to be satisfied.”


But for someone who has made great strides in getting his health back to where he wants it to be – David has lost 70 pounds and rides his bike for 45 minutes to an hour a day – the words had a chilling effect.

“It was a bomb,” he said. “It was crushing. Just the thought that when people look at me this is what they think.”

The insult was made even more hurtful by the fact that the manager kept making excuses and wouldn’t simply admit the mistake, Olymphia added.

Ploeser said he has addressed the issue with the young woman who took the order and put the name on the ticket.

“The young lady who did this, I’ve spoken to her, and she’s devastated,” said Ploeser. “She was literally in tears and she feels absolutely terrible about it.”

Ploeser would not say what, if any, disciplinary action was taken against the young lady in question, saying that he would not comment publicly on internal personnel issues. He said he has called the Allens and offered to meet with them “anytime, anywhere” to apologize in person. His offer has not yet been accepted, he said.

“The Allens seem like very nice people on the phone, wish we had met under different circumstances and wish we had served them better,” he said.

For their part, the Allens simply wish the whole incident had never happened.

“If I had it to do again, I’d have come back to Maricopa,” Olymphia said. “Our little town is our little town, and it’s not perfect, but at least they have compassion for people.”