By Greg Botelho and David Spiegel
(CNN) — Two Subway employees have been fired after getting fresh — not in the way the restaurant chain intended — including one who put his genitals on a loaf of bread, took a picture, then shared the image online.
The incident came to light over the past few days at a Subway franchise abutting a gas station in Dublin, Ohio.
Specifically, the uproar centers around two images that were posted to a social networking site and eventually picked up by other sites, including Gawker.
One shows a male putting his genitals on what appears to be a loaf of Subway bread. In the other, a hand is shown holding what used to be a water bottle that’s half-filled with a cream-colored substance. Under it is the caption: “Today at work I froze my pee.”
Using the slogan “Eat Fresh,” Subway boasts being the world’s largest restaurant chain, with about 38,000 locations in 100 countries. The company released a statement Tuesday about what it called an “isolated incident (that) is not representative of Subway sandwich artists,” the latter term being what Subway calls those who make sandwiches at its restaurants.
“These actions are not tolerated and the franchisee took immediate action to terminate the two employees involved,” Subway said.
Gilligan Oil, the company that owns and operates the Subway franchise in question, did not respond immediately Tuesday to CNN’s request for comment.
But its director of operations, Bob Gierhart, did tell CNN affiliate WBNS that the restaurant was closed Monday so all its bread could be thrown out and all its surfaces could be sanitized.
“We do our best to hire properly,” Gierhart said. “We had a couple of kids who don’t understand the ramifications of what they do and what they post.”
According to Columbus Public Health, whose inspectors routinely check on restaurants in the area, the Subway franchise did not have any critical violations in its last two inspections that took place this past March and in October 2012.
The restaurant did have violations before then, according to information posted online, though all of these were corrected at the time of the inspections. The violations included things like problems with temperatures at which foods were being held, unsafe food not being properly discarded and employees failing to properly wash their hands.
Prospective customers, meanwhile, expressed disgust after hearing of the employees’ behavior.
“I think I want to go home and consider puking,” Jason South told WBNS. “… Sometimes these things kind of go on in fast-food restaurants, and most of us just really don’t want to know about it.”
Patrick Gibson told the same station that he used to go to that Subway franchise because his co-workers told him it was “the cleanest one around.” But that’s hard for him to swallow now, nor does he understand why the offending employees did what they did.
“I don’t get what the joke is,” Gibson said. “I don’t get that it’s funny.”
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