Woman fired for giving 16-cent treat to toddler

A Tim Hortons coffee outlet displays doughnuts for sale at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary March 24, 2006. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski

TORONTO (Reuters) - An attendant at a Canadian restaurant who was sacked for giving a bite-sized doughnut, worth 16 cents, to an agitated toddler was given her job back on Thursday after the case received wide media attention.

Nicole Lilliman, a single mother, said she was dismissed from a London, Ontario, outlet of the Tim Hortons coffee and doughnut chain after video cameras captured the 27-year-old giving a Timbit to a toddler.

“It was just out of my heart, she (the toddler) was pointing and going ‘ah, ah...’ I should have gone to my purse and got the change, but it was busy,” Lilliman told the Toronto Star newspaper.

Tim Hortons said on Thursday that the firing was a mistake.

“It was the unfortunate action of one manager who unfortunately made an overzealous decision, and thankfully we were able to rectify the situation,” said company spokeswoman Rachel Douglas.

Douglas said the company, a Canadian icon with stores on virtually every high street across the country, told Lilliman that she could have her job back, and Lilliman had accepted.

A single Timbit sells for 16 Canadian cents (16 U.S. cents), but most shoppers buy boxes of 10, 20 or 40 of the deep-fried goodies, which come in a variety of flavors.

Douglas said Tim Hortons had received a number of complaints. “Thankfully we’re able to go back to them and say we were able to fix the situation,” she said.

Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Janet Guttsman and Peter Galloway