Wouldnt you know it? Cody, a beloved fixture at his peoples BP gas station and convenience store in Clearwater, Fla., is no longer allowed to show up at the store where he is beloved by customers.
This affable chocolate Labrador retriever delighted customers for several months. His favorite job was as a canine clerk of sorts. When customers pulled up to the stores drive-thru window, up would pop a smiling dog wearing a green BP T-shirt and a nametag. Hed stand there wagging, delighting customers and making even the gruffest customers smile. And kids were crazy for him.
“He hears the bell and goes running. When he pops up, that sets it off,” Karim Mansour, the store’s owner and dog’s person, told the St. Petersburg Times last month. “Uncontrollable giggling.”
Cody was also a calming presence in the unpredictable world of convenience store life. ” People come in drunk, stoned, angry, you name it,” said Mansour, who adopted the 6-year-old dog three years ago. “He calms them down. Animals have the ability to soothe the human soul.”
Codys popularity grew, and a local newspaper picked up on the winsome clerk. Cody went semi viral on the internet. He was an international hit. But alas, among those who read about Cody were state health inspectors. They paid a visit, and yesterday gave Mansour a warning:
Either Cody goes, or the Florida Department of Agriculture will declare all of Mansour’s food products unfit for consumption, the St. Pete Times reports.
Mind you, were not talking hot dogs and fresh food here. All of the stores food products are wrapped or bottled. So apparently the mere presence of Cody means that all bottled water, Slim Jims, chips, and candy are considered contaminated.
Its the most ridiculous thing weve heard in a long time. Were sure that a percentage of the customers who visit the store pose much more of a contamination risk. Theres no risk from Cody, unless he goes around doing leg-lifts on the Fritos. And he does not.
Cody loved going to the store, and being around his people and customers all day. Now, thanks to an arcane rule about dogs posing a health hazard to food, the sweet boy will have to stay home. The inspector noted that Cody would be allowed to spend his day in the stores back room. But Mansour says no way.
“Cody would think he was being punished if I put him back there,” he said.
So Mansour is going to leave Cody at home. At least Cody has two other dogs there. But when he falls asleep, hell surely dream of the happy days when he got to wear his shirt and nametag and make people smile.