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Veteran’s coffin left in parking lot while workers stop for donuts on way to funeral

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Posted at 1:41 PM, May 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-13 13:45:18-04

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. – A driver and a funeral director are out of work after they were caught parking their hearse at a donut shop with the body of a veteran was inside.

The body of army veteran Lt. Col. Jesse Coleman was on the way to his funeral when a driver and a funeral director decided to make a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts.

“What could they have been thinking? I haven’t got the foggiest idea,” said Jim Rudolph, President of Veterans Funeral Care.

Rudolph says his core business is honoring veterans, and this pit stop for a cup of Joe goes against that.

“That’s absolutely terrible. It’s not what we do. That’s absolutely a total lack of respect.”

The picture went viral when the photographer shared his video with a veterans’ service group.

“That is one of my brothers or sisters.”

Lauren Price of Veteran Warriors says when she saw the picture she called the funeral home herself.

“I was physically ill when I saw that and I was very upset.”

Especially because her own service included funeral detail.

“I’ve been on funerals where we had to travel for four hours to do a funeral in full uniform in the dead of summer in Florida and we didn’t stop to get coffee. We didn’t stop for bathroom breaks. You just don’t do that.”

“It’s a rule, it’s understood. When a car is heading to a service, if there’s more than two people in it, then it doesn’t pull over,” says Rudolph.

Both employees have been let go.

“I think if they had the ability to turn their day back, they’d do things differently,” says Rudolph.

The veteran’s widow says she was disappointed by the coffee stop, but did not want the two to be fired.