A little peace was made on January 12 at the Pacific Beach McDonald’s. Nate Nicholson was protesting the way this McDonald’s location treats the area’s homeless, including him, even if they are paying customers. He had given up his one-man protest for the holidays.
1121 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach
On January 9, Nicholson said he was surprised to receive an e-mail from Eva Cortes, the general manager of the restaurant at 1121 Garnet Avenue.
“I hope you will accept my apology for your unsatisfactory visit,” read the e-mail. It also mentioned, “I will also like to take this opportunity to invite you back and have lunch on us just for the inconvenience, just mention the fact that you have received an invitation from Eva, the General Manager, and my Employees will gladly take care of you.”
Later that evening, around 5:00 p.m., Nicholson says he entered the restaurant and identified who he was to an employee at the cash register. “The employee went back to talk to Cortes, returned, and told me I had to leave,” said Nicholson.
On January 11, he restarted his protest with his cardboard signs.
The next day I met Nicholson again on the sidewalk in front of McDonald’s. He gave me a copy of the e-mail from McDonald’s.
I went inside and spoke to GM Eva Cortes. She did not deny Nicholson’s accusations of the incident, but did add that he has been disruptive when he has come in, in the past. She added that customers complain about him and the police have been called to escort him out several times.
Having worked at this McDonald’s location for the past 18 years, she said she became the GM only two weeks ago. She said she was having a hard time catching up on all of the store’s e-mails and customer comments. Cortes finally relinquished, “I don’t want any more problems with him.” She jutted outside and apologized to Nicholson, shaking hands, and asking him to come inside and get his free meal.
Nicholson threw away his several protest signs in a curbside trash can, went in and ordered a crispy chicken sandwich, fries, and a large drink. He told Cortes he understood the challenges of having the area's homeless hanging around her store.
“I didn’t really want to start this again,” said Nicholson. “But, after the way I was treated, it seemed like a slap in the face.” Nicholson said now that this incident if finally over, he plans to head back to Pennsylvania on February 1, where he will renew his home state’s drivers license, and plan his return to San Diego later this spring.