Couple Misuses Red Cross for a Free Meal

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A Quad City couple tells a local restaurant that they lost their home in a house fire and the Red Cross sent them to get a free meal, but the American Red Cross says that's not the case.

A couple went to Chipotle restaurant in Davenport and without asking any more questions, the restaurant gave the couple a free meal.  Word about the free meal got back to the Red Cross.

"They gave a person the benefit of the doubt, you know felt like that was the good thing to do and you certainly can't fault the restaurant from doing that," says Betsy Pratt, CEO for America Red Cross of the Quad Cities.

The only problem is, there was no fire and Red Cross didn’t send them there.

 "We talked to the restaurant manager and let them know that's not how we operate at all. Individuals will receive a client assistant card," says Pratt.

The cards look exactly like a debit card and clearly states that it’s from the Red Cross.

"That is what they use to buy, following the fire, including any meals they'll need for several days,” says Pratt.

As for the fire the couples say happened, Red Cross has no records of it, "The name we were given of the people that were allegedly doing this were not any of the fire clients that we had listed."

The Red Cross says it’s doing its own investigation and so far has not reported this to the police. They’re disappointed someone would take advantage of the help they give to legitimate victims.

"If there is any type of disaster, we would like them to contact us and then we'll help assess what their situation is and work with them on helping them start on recovery,” says Pratt.

The Red Cross says they’re not sure if the couple has done this at any other restaurants.