It's understandable why a local business wouldn't want its customers to purchase items for particular individuals who loiter on their property and may have given them trouble in the past.
For example, when I was a student at Rutgers University-Newark, the owners of the EZ Mart would try and dissuade students from giving money or buying items for two particular homeless folks who would hang around campus.
One person in particular would accept certain items/toiletries from students, then return later in the day or the next morning when there was a shift change and attempt to exchange the goods for cash in store, or go around and sell them to other students for a slight discount for cash.
However, if someone has money and they want to spend it on someone else who's begging them for a meal, well, it's a free country and they're entitled to spend their cash however they see fit and even though the owners of the EZ Mart would try and warn folks not to give these particular panhandlers money + buy them items, they would ultimately just shrug their shoulders and go on with their day.
This Atlanta Popeyes had a different reaction to a customer who helped a homeless person out though, they called the cops.
The TikToker writes in a caption for the video: "CRAZY Popeyes in Atlanta would not let me purchase food for homeless!" A text overlay for the clip further drives the point home: "Popeyes in Atlanta would not let me buy homeless man food !!"
Local news outlet Fox 5 Atlanta identified the Popeyes customer as Georgia State University student Jo Ortega who was picking up a DoorDash delivery order. The outlet reported that Jo noticed a homeless man in the vicinity of the Popeyes who was hungry, so she bought him a two-piece meal, but was met with resistance from the store's staff.
In the viral TikTok video Jo can be heard saying, "This homeless man I'm trying to order a two piece dinner for them..." a Popeyes worker closes the drive-thru window. Jo continues, "Well may I speak to the manager?" the workers ignore the TikTok user as she sits in the car for a few seconds before attempting to get their attention again.
"So I don't know why Popeyes don't let you order for him and he's asking for food."
Another employee at the store comes to open the window: "No ma'am you can't do it."
"He's asking for food."
"Ma'am you can't do it - I don't care about you recording me baby."
"May I have your name so I can let people know?" Jo says.
The drive-thru window closes again. In a follow-up video, Jo can be heard saying, "They call the cops on me everything bro," as video footage of a police auto unit with lights flashing drives off.
It then cuts to her waiting in the drive-thru with the homeless individual standing outside of her car. She speaks to her TikTok followers, mentioning that the man she was attempting to buy food for didn't ask for money or anything, just a bite to eat.
Jo was ultimately successful in getting the man some Popeyes. Towards the end of the video, he looks into the camera, waves, and mentions that he does artwork in the park and that Jo was nice enough to get him something to eat. As it turns out, she got the food from that exact Popeyes location.
Fox 5 Atlanta reported that the police responded to a call of a customer refusing to leave the drive-thru. However, no charges were issued and "since Ortega didn't break any laws, they [the police] didn't do anything." Jo went on to say that police officers actually "commended" the young woman for buying the man some food.
Jo added that she was able to get in touch with the manager who let both Jo and the homeless man, who goes by Jazz, order whatever they wanted from the menu without paying.
The restaurant told the local news outlet that it's: "committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect. We have ensured all employees at this restaurant have been provided with retraining to help navigate a range of guest interactions, such as the situation highlighted in the video."
Additionally, Jo said that she's started a fundraiser in order to assist Jazz in securing a long-term living situation.