It was all caught on tape by Tiffany Gallaway, a Dallas military veteran who says she was shocked at the situation.
A funeral worker left his hearse with a flag-draped coffin unattended in a Walmart parking lot while he shopped and then proceeded to place his groceries next to the coffin when he returned.
She waited for him to return to the hearse, and then caught the incident on her smartphone.
When confronted, the driver then lied and placed the blame on the funeral home, saying he agreed with her.
“Well, because they dropped this thing on me and said I needed to get it, and I said, ‘Hey we’re loaded’ but I didn’t like the idea either.”, the driver is caught on video saying.
Tiffany noticed the unattended hearse illegally parked and waited for the driver to come out with his groceries.
Tiffany remarked, “This has got to be the most disrespectful thing I have ever seen in my life. I just want you to know that. This is absolutely horrible. That man died serving our country and you’re putting ice in a cooler.”
“You and I are in agreement. I didn’t want to do this in the first place,” the driver responded.
The North Dallas Funeral Home said the driver wasn’t authorized to stop at Walmart and apologized.
You can view the whole video here at CBS DFW’s Facebook page.
In a statement to CBS DFW, the funeral home said: ““The employee failed to follow our company policy regarding transporting between funeral facilities.”
That has got to be the most absurd thing I have seen in a long time.
There is a flag draped coffin holding someone who served in the military or was a police officer or firefighter in this hearse.
We have come to expect a lack of respect for decorum from young people…sadly… but this man was old enough to know better.
The man also lied… the Funeral Home did NOT authorize this stop! I am glad this hit the local news and I hope some real embarrassment occurred!
It is not an isolated incident.
Just this year, two other similar incidents occurred in Florida and Virginia.
In May, in Pasco County Florida, the hearse carrying retired Lt. Col. Jesse Coleman, 84, of Beverly Hills, Fla., stopped for a Dunkin’ Donut break.
The son of a World War II Navy veteran, Rob Carpenter, was having coffee and donuts when he noticed the hearse was parked there and had a flag draped coffin. He approached the driver’s side of the hearse and knocked on the window.
“So you have a soldier in your hearse and you stop for doughnuts?” Carpenter asked.
The driver did not respond but the other man returned carrying coffee and a bag of doughnuts.
The two men were promptly fired from the Veterans Funeral Care funeral home.
New Port Richey resident Dan Wilson is quoted as saying, “This is totally unacceptable. Here is the body of a man who gave many years of service to our country. A man who served proudly and with dignity. Yet as he is going to his final hallowed ground where he will rest for eternity, those who were entrusted to honorably carry his body, chose to stop for coffee. This honored Soldier deserved much more than was provided. As a resident of New Port Richey I am ashamed that this took place in our town and I regret that I was not there because this resident would show how I truly feel.”
Then a month later, in Virginia Beach, a hearse stopped at a Hardee’s carrying the body of 80-year-old deceased veteran, Bobby Hill.
David Disch was appalled to see a hearse parked in the back corner of the parking lot
when he was going through the drive-thru.
“After I got my food I went around behind it to confirm what I had seen, a flag-draped coffin inside,” says Disch. “You couldn’t miss it.”
When our nation begins to lose respect for our bravest, we are surely in trouble.
There was a day when people respected funeral processions. No longer is that the case. There was a day when people respected protocol. No longer is that the case. There was a day when people respected our veterans. No longer is that the case.
They often do not even respect the flag. Wake up America…something is really wrong.
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