Let me acknowledge my bias here.

I am a big fan of Tim Hortons. Their coffee is scalding hot and robust and their doughnuts (especially sour cream plain) are the best in the business.

But Tims stumbled badly the other day. The coffee chain, one of the most valued brands in the country, fired a 27-year-old single mother of four, Nicole Lillman, because she gave away a timbit (16 cents) to the restless child of a regular customer. (When head office heard of the incident in a local store in London, they promptly hired her back.)

Nicole was fired after she was hauled into the manager’s office and told she had been caught on video giving away free food. Nicole said: « When I told my daughter I lost my job, she started crying. She’s only six, and she doesn’t know. She said, ‘We won’t have any food any more.' »

The fate of the manager who fired Nicole is still being decided.

In your view, what should happen to the manager?

Should he be fired?



  1. 1
    Chimera Says:

    There’s more to the story, as I heard it on the radio news backgrounder.

    It’s not about the monetary value. The timbit she gave to the child was day-old, and has no real value to the store (they either give away day-olds or discount them drastically, and either way, they don’t go to the public, but to soup kitchens/food banks or something like that). Apparently, it’s a health insurance issue, or something. It would have been okay for her to give the timbit to a dog as a treat, but not a human.

    The manager over-reacted. Luckily, head office was awake and fixed the problem. Nicole is now working at a <idifferent store.

    I’d find out what the history is between her and her former manager before I fire anyone. There’s definitely more going on than the giving away of a Timbit.

  2. 2
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    There must have been more than meets the eye, I agree. However even if it was so, you do not fire someone unless he or she has done something SERIOUS and you have built an airtight case against that person. The manager in case exhibited poor judgment, acted impulsively and without respect for due process. Having managed personnel for the best part of 20 years I would have been fired had I acted in such a way…and I was not at Tim horton’s. Bad blood between an employee and a manager is never a good termination motive.
    Took me 3 years to fire an incompetent lazy bone, providing me with false medical certificates issued by her doctor nephew. We won at the labour tribunal, in superior court and in appellate court. Finally the union gave up short of the Supreme court. At Tim, as far as I know they are’nt unionized but it is not a reason to act like a lynching mob.

  3. 3
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    I couldn’t get past the daughter being quoted as saying: « We won’t have any food any more. »

    Nobody is going to starve in Canada, even if Mommy is fired by the evil capitalists at Tim Horton, Inc.

    We have a plethora of social programs paid for by a plethora of taxes imposed upon the Canadian taxpayers (human and corporate) that makes it virtually impossible for anyone to be without any of the basic necessities of life, including that most essential of necessities: food.

    More important than whether the mother gets fired, gets another job, or gets rehired is how: (1) the child got this notion in her head; and (2) how the reporter could report this.

    I suppose it makes a good story but it is nonsense for not only the child to think this but for the reading public at large to read this in a newspaper and believe it.

    Why? Because poverty has been virtually eliminated in Canada.

    The good news is that 20 years after the publication of Christopher Sarlo’s book « Poverty in Canada » — in which he puts to bed the notion that there is any poverty left in Canada — the media is finally stopping their habit of sensational reporting in which it was standard operating procedure to report low-income groups as being in « poverty. » I was very pleased to see a recent story in the Gazette in which the term « low-income » was used instead of « poverty » (see: ). I suspect it was a result of complaints/cases brought before the press council to stop newspaper sdoing this, a practise that had been routine for decades, and which was entirely false and inaccurate.

  4. 4
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    You’re quite right Tony, it makes for good copy and sells well but sensationalism is sensationalism and it appeals to what you call Hoi Polloi. Several years ago I tried to explain this to an American sociologist, she looked at me and stopped short of calling me a liar but I’m sure she still has serious doubts.
    However, some people fall through the cracks, mainly the mentally ill who refuse everything and we can not force them to accept help.
    And, one last thing, children do come up with astonishing notions and they react forcefully to adult anxieties.

  5. 5
    littlepatti Says:

    It’s a good thing to see that Tim Horton stepped in and transferred the employee to another store. All companies should show respect for their employees both publicly & privately. People need jobs but Companies that service the public need really good employees!

    I think that manager should not be fired, but should be monitored very carefully.
    It seems that the manager has an abusive nature and could use some retraining in the « I’m OK, You’re OK department ».

  6. 6

    littlepatti –

    Thanks for your very common sense solution to the problem at Tim’s.

  7. 7
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    Don’t fire the manager – demote him, and put him behind the counter, where he would have to deal with the public, and remember who really pays his salary.
    BTW – there IS poverty in Canada. When people at a certain level of income have to choose between paying the rent OR buying groceries OR heating the home, you have poverty. Then, again, there are homeless people as well, for whom survival is all the more problematic. Don’t kid yourselves, people. CTZen.

  8. 8
    littlepatti Says:

    Re: Poverty in Canada- I just had to comment on this one.
    Next weekend a group from my church will be on a Montreal street corner serving homemade cookies and handing out spring jackets and socks to homeless people. They aren’t there to preach or convert anyone. They are there to chit chat and give out cookies & clothes. It has been a project every season now for a few years. The people served are really happy to see someone cares, and they just love the homemade cookies.
    I’ll let you know next week if there is actually poverty in Canada, when our good samaritans check in. If there isn’t, it’s safe to say, the homeless will not show up!

  9. 9


    We await your report with interest. Congratulations on the work you and your church are doing. Did I not read somewhere there are a million people in Canada living below the poverty line?

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