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Popeyes employees called police on customer buying food for homeless man

rolling out exclusive with Customer who turns inconvenience to positivity
Popeyes employees called police on customer buying food for homeless man
Atlanta activist Jo Ortega. (Photo credit: Rashad Milligan for rolling out)

ATLANTA — Jo Ortega just wanted to do the right thing.

The Georgia State University senior was picking up a Doordash order one night at Popeyes when she saw a homeless man, Jazz Reese, nearby who said he was hungry. When Ortega attempted to order a two-piece meal for Reese, the Popeyes employees wouldn’t serve her and called the police on the student.

Atlanta police eventually arrived on the scene and no arrests were made. Ortega said an officer even thanked her for trying to buy Reese some food. The homeless man was also thankful. The general manager eventually allowed Ortega and Reese to order whatever they wanted for free that night.


CRAZY Popeyes in Atlanta would not let me purchase food for homeless! #atlanta #dontletthisflop #fyp #videoviral @popeyes @theshaderoom #FindYourEdge #fyp

♬ original sound – thegirlyjo

Ortega posted clips of the exchange on a now-viral TikTok, then, the story made local news before climbing to the national news circuit on “The Breakfast Club.” At a Stacey Abrams discussion with Charlamagne Tha God, 21 Savage and Francys Johnson, Ortega raised the issue of Atlanta’s treatment of the homeless. After the event, she spoke to rolling out about her next steps in bringing change to the community.

What has the reaction been since you told your story?

I have received mostly positive comments. I do have some negative, but the positive outweighs the bad. I know I’m doing the work here in the community. I’m in connection with the homeless person I helped out, and I’m here because of the other people who are experiencing homelessness as well, to help support them as well.


Replying to @thegirlyjo update‼️we found jazz …got him some new clothes and shoes and he’s is off the streets for now.. working on getting permanent housing … I am starting a website for him to sell his art!ShowOShowOffLandOFrostlviralvideon#atlantafypyfindyouredgey@popeyesh@theshaderoomv@foxtv

♬ original sound – thegirlyjo

What was it like to see Charlemagne tonight — one of the people who put your story on a national platform?

I appreciate all the words and love that Charlemagne used on his platform. I really appreciate it. It was really nice. I enjoyed every moment. I was trying to get a picture with him, but I still just enjoy being a part of the conversation and doing something.

Have you had any conversations with Popeyes’ corporate office since the night of the incident?

Popeyes has not reached out to me for an apology. No one on Popeyes’ end has ever reached out to me … so far.

[NOTE: Popeyes sent a statement to FOX5 Atlanta that the company is “committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect” and the employees have been “retrained.”]

How can people support you?

Great question.

So as the interview said, I’m a senior at Georgia State University. I appreciate all of the letters and all the donations and the positive words. If you want to fund the cost, I have a GoFundMe up to help start my nonprofit. I want to start to help the families that are reaching out to me now.

Also, just continue to support my page. I love all the positive comments. I read all the emails and all of you guys’ personal touches, too. I read all of it and I am appreciative of all of them. So continue doing that, continue reposting the video and liking the video.

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