VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A Bliley's Funeral Home hearse, carrying the coffin of an 80-year-old veteran, was parked outside a Hardee's on Saturday morning while two employees went inside.
David Disch, of Virginia Beach, says he was in the drive-thru line around 11:00 AM when he saw the hearse drive by. He says it parked in a back corner of the parking lot, and two employees got out and walked inside.
"After I got my food I went around behind it to confirm what I had seen, a flag-draped coffin inside," says Disch. "You couldn't miss it."
The Ceremony and Planning Team Manger of Bliley's Funeral Home, Bill Carter, says they were carrying Bobby Hill for a 1:00 PM service at Rosewood Memorial Park in Virginia Beach from their headquarters in Richmond. According to Hill's obituary, he is a retired Master Sergeant with the United States Air Force.
"That just added to the fire that it was a serviceman," says Disch.
Disch took action by taking pictures of the hearse and posting about it on Facebook.
"I know we're all human, we have to eat, but protocols need to be changed, something needs to be changed," says Disch. "I don't think it would have bothered me as much, but when they both got out and proceeded in, that's what set me off."
Carter says they do have a company policy to never leave someone unattended in public unless in an emergency.
"In this case at least one associate was watching the locked and secured hearse while they were briefly inside a restaurant," said Carter in a statement to NewsChannel 3.
Carter says they also notified the family.
"The family was very pleased with our services and made sure to mention that to our associates. Bliley's takes the transportation and care of those people we serve very seriously and we have addressed this issue with our Associates to ensure that our procedures are followed consistently."
Bliley's Funeral Home released a statement on Tuesday about the incident:
"On Saturday, two of our associates were traveling from Richmond to Rosewood Memorial Park in Virginia Beach for a ceremony when they had to make a quick stop. It is our company policy to never leave someone unattended in public unless in an emergency. In this case, at least one associate was watching the locked and secured hearse while they were briefly inside a restaurant. Bliley'ʹs takes the transportation and care of those people we serve very seriously and we have addressed this issue with our Associates to ensure that our procedures are followed
We have been in contact with the family and they were very pleased with our services up until this point. The family requests the media respect their privacy during this difficult time. Furthermore, the family acknowledges that Bliley’s has waived their financial responsibility for its services."