(Reuters) - When Misty Laska opened her takeaway pizza, the first thing she noticed was that it was not sliced. Then she and her husband saw that the pepperoni pieces had been arranged in the shape of a swastika.
When they realised what it was, the couple, from Middleburg Heights, Ohio, were "just silent" she told Reuters after posting a picture on social media of the pizza, which she said came from Little Caesars.
Extremely angered by the Nazi symbol, they had tried to return the pizza but got no response when they called the shop, which had closed. Little Caesars, the world's third largest pizza chain, contacted them the following day to apologise.
"We have zero tolerance for racism and discrimination in any form, and these franchise store employees were immediately terminated," Little Caesars said in response to a request for comment. "This conduct is completely against our values."
Laska said the company had told her their employees had admitted to making the pizza as a joke and it was never supposed to be sold. Her husband Jason had bought the pizza, which had already been prepared, right before closing time.
She said she felt firing the employees was not a satisfactory step given the severity of the 'joke', but was not sure what other action she and Jason could have taken.
"This kind of hate being spread around and not taken seriously is why the world is becoming so divided," she added.
"In the climate today a gesture like such is completely unacceptable ... I hope the two responsible learn a valuable lesson from this. Spread love, not hate."
(Reporting by Nur-Azna Sanusi; writing by Karishma Singh; editing by Philippa Fletcher)