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Elderly couple kicked out of Va. McDonald's for sitting too long

Monday - 3/10/2014, 1:24pm  ET

Barbara Becker describes the incident

WTOP's Kathy Stewart

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Talkback listeners answer how long is too long?

WTOP's David Burd

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WASHINGTON -- After an elderly couple got the boot from their local McDonald's for sitting too long, management and the owner are not answering the question if there really is a 30-minute sitting limit at the Culpeper, Va. fast food restaurant.

Carl Becker, 87, a World War II veteran, and his wife Barbara Becker, 81, say they both were at the Culpeper McDonald's on Feb. 21 at about 2:30 p.m. when they were approached by the manager.

The location is a place the pair has frequented for years.

"And he says 'You two are going to have to leave.' He said 'Your half hour is up and we need to clean this floor,'" says Barbara Becker. The restaurant was not crowded at the time, she says, and the two were stunned. This was the first time they had ever been asked to leave a McDonald's.

"We've never, ever, ever been kicked out of a McDonald's," she says, adding that they've have been patrons of the fast food chain for decades and since their own children were kids. The couple has six children ranging in age from 43 to 61 and 14 grandchildren with one on the way, due March 10.

"Now our grandchildren are McDonald's lovers," she says adding that they spend lots of time at McDonald's because they are on a fixed income and it's affordable. Her husband loves getting the chicken sandwich, she says and that it's a treat for the both of them to just eat, talk and enjoy each other's company.

Carl Becker wrote a letter to the editor of the Star Exponent about the incident.

But Barbara Becker says, "We were kicked out unnecessarily and we're just not that kind of people."

The couple has been back to a McDonald's since the incident but not the Culpeper location. The restaurant owner has reached out to the couple.

Bob Drumheller, the owner of the McDonald's Culpeper franchise, issued a statement:

"I care deeply about the comfort and satisfaction of my customers. My organization takes these matters seriously, and is investigating the customer's claims. I have also reached out to the customer to extend my apologies for this misunderstanding. Our focus will continue to be on serving our customers and providing them a welcoming experience."

In another incident involving a McDonald's in New York, the franchise had a bigger battle on its hands. That location had to remind its customers of a time limit for patrons who dine in by posting a sign stating customers have 20 minutes to finish their meals. The catalyst behind the sign was a group of elderly patrons who would come to the restaurant as early as 5 a.m. and would stay until after dark, the New York Times reports. The Times says a number of elderly Korean patrons were taking up tables for hours on a daily basis.

WTOP asked its Facebook followers to weigh in on the issue by asking whether there should be a 30-minute sitting limit at McDonald's. See the responses here.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on the WTOP Facebook page.

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