How an unpaid meal led to free meals for police, military, first responders

By on July 21, 2021

On Friday July 16, as Carolina Bar-B-Que Company owner Mike Weaver recalls, someone placed a good-sized call-in order from his place. But when the customer pulled up to the Manteo restaurant and saw the thin blue line flag in support of police that has flown outside the business for about two years, they called to say they did not want their already-prepared food.

Weaver, who told the Voice that the flag is designed to “memorialize police officers who have died,” posted about the incident on the company’s Facebook page, noting that a result, he would have to institute a new policy of asking for upfront payment on takeout orders from customers he doesn’t know.

The July 16 Facebook post also announced that he was starting a “Feed the Blue Free Fundraiser page” on gofundme.

Weaver’s family tree is filled with relatives and ancestors who worked in law enforcement. “I like to be apolitical, basically,” he said. But support for police and first responders “is a driving force that’s always been inside my heart.”

Meanwhile, word of the unpaid meal and his initiative to provide free food to police and emergency personnel, spread. “Basically, it clicked and went viral,” Weaver said. People started writing checks. One man gave several thousand dollars. Weaver got a call from a police officer in California, he said, as well as one from North Carolina Third District Congressman Greg Murphy.

As of Tuesday July 10, he noted, that he had collected in total about $8,000 for his “Feed the Blue Free Fundraiser.” The money, he explained, has been put into an account that will be used to provide free Carolina Bar-B-Que meals for police, military, correction officers, paramedics and other first responders, along with the 10% discount for their families.

As for how he knows the free meals are going to the right people, the restaurant posted this advice on Facebook: “Please make sure to let us know that you are Police, Fire, EMS, and Military so that we can make sure you are fed and taken care of.”





  • Robert Jones

    Please support the business that supports our heroes.

    Wednesday, Jul 21 @ 10:06 am
  • hightider

    Good that one person’s prejudice boomeranged into something beneficial for the people he despises. Part of me has to wonder if he started thinking about the expense and decided he would use the thin blue line issue as an excuse to change his mind.

    Wednesday, Jul 21 @ 10:30 am
  • Dethrol

    Unapologetically standing up for your principles is a rare trait in today’s world. Bravo, Carolina Bar-B-Que Company. You have my business.

    Wednesday, Jul 21 @ 11:17 am
  • Tom Gauss

    Mike is a true caring member of our community and is to be commended for his efforts towards the recognition of our law enforcement members and giving them the respect they positively deserve. They have been maligned lately and need to be respected by everyone. It’s amazing that anyone accepts the commitment necessary to join that community.

    Wednesday, Jul 21 @ 12:14 pm
  • Sandman

    Awesome stuff! Happy to see that one person’s ignorance ends up as a positive way to appreciate the people that put their life on the line so others don’t have to!! I’ll definitely be donating!

    Wednesday, Jul 21 @ 1:26 pm
  • Glenn

    Awesome! Way to go…thanks so much for supporting our law enforcement agencies and our military!!! You have our 100% support!!!

    Wednesday, Jul 21 @ 4:15 pm
  • C A

    Fantastic news, very glad to learn of how this gentlemen’s restaurant is taking care of truly appreciated Law Enforcement community as well our 1st Responders.

    Then the response from so many with their contributions, and support is really incredible. Great news!

    Wednesday, Jul 21 @ 10:07 pm
  • Masonesqd

    Thank you for your generosity to those that serve. As a new resident of the island and a retired investigator I will be a regular customer for your stance in supporting our first responders. Not going to be a part of the intolerant ‘cancel culture’ that chooses to think they can hurt you by their ungrateful attitudes.

    Wednesday, Jul 21 @ 10:26 pm
  • Patty Alspaugh

    As frequent visitors to the OBX, my husband and I can confirm that this is a perfect example of why we love that area. We are huge supporters of first responders and military/veterans and the businesses that stand for them. Thank you Carolina Bar-B-Q!

    Thursday, Jul 22 @ 7:04 am
  • Jersey-FD

    Thanks Mike for being respectful and appreciative, I’ll be there in November.

    Saturday, Jul 24 @ 5:26 am
  • Sheila

    Awesome! Love y’all! LOVE LOVE LOVE ur bbq! Love what u stand for! Can’t wrap my head around the hatred against police that is in other people’s minds!

    Sunday, Jul 25 @ 11:30 pm
  • Thom

    They have yummy BBQ and those corn nuggets!

    Tuesday, Aug 3 @ 8:29 am