Tim Horton’s Poor Judgment

Restaurant refuses to allow boy to call 9-1-1 – A young boy had an asthma attack at one of the Tim Horton’s restaurants in London, Ontario. He asked store employees if he could call 9-1-1 for an ambulance. They refused, according to The Inquisitr. Why/how could such poor judgment be made? The employees say because of company protocol, Customers are not allowed to use the store phone under any circumstances. The employee did tell the boy that there was a pay phone across the street. Thankfully, another patron in the restaurant saw what was going on and used her phone to dial 9-1-1. To make matters even worse, reports are that when paramedics finally arrived, the Tim Horton’s employees wouldn’t let them come through an exit-only door. Thankfully, the boy was eventually taken to the hospital and is said to be doing fine. The Tim Horton’s chain said they would use this incident as an opportunity to teach emergency response protocol to staff.

Lesson #1 Remove “Policy” from your employees’ vocabulary – This has become such a big issue, a crutch that reduces employees’ service aptitude and causes them to sometimes make horrible decisions because they are afraid of going against “company policy.” See these two excellent previous examples. Company policy ends up costing a Customer’s life, and How a company doesn’t help a non-subscriber who locked baby in her car.

Lesson #2 As a company, own up – Don’t make excuses about why or how it happened. Just come out and say it was handled incorrectly, and you will make sure it never is handled that way again. It could happen to any company and has to many, even companies with a great Customer service reputation. (read Asking your Customer to bend over and Can you afford not to train on Service Aptitude?)


You can only live a perfect day when you do something for someone who will never be able to repay you.

About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.