It started out as the most popular want ad a Waterloo restaurant owner had ever placed – but it ended up costing him his job.

For nearly five years, Sandor Dosman had operated the Veritas Café at Wilfrid Laurier University.

That run came to an abrupt end on Monday, when he was told that the Wilfrid Laurier Graduate Students’ Association was terminating his contract.

He says he was “blindsided” by the news, and was only given time to grab cash from the most recent day’s sales before he was escorted out of the building by security guards.

“They didn’t want to be associated with me anymore, I guess,” he says.

At issue was an advertisement he had posted on Facebook, seeking a new employee.

“I need a new slave (full time staff member) to boss (mentor) around at Veritas Café,” it began.

Dosman describes the ad as being “fun, funny, a little tongue-in-cheek.” In addition to the opening line, it references beverages like “confidence booster (beer)” and “dancing liquid (alcoholic drinks),” and pokes fun at various aspects of his business.

“Food safety certificate would help your cause too (we try not to kill our customers),” he wrote.

“We also operate a food truck (so man buns and tattoos are ok).”

Dosman says the ad resulted in the hiring of four new workers.

“It was a fun ad – in my opinion, the most successful ad I’ve ever posted,” he says.

While Dosman was told that the ad was the reason his contract was being terminated, he says he wasn’t told what the specific problem was.

The issue has attracted a lot of attention on Laurier’s Waterloo campus, with one philosophy professor even writing an open letter to the students’ association urging them to reconsider their decision.

In an interview with CTV News, Byron Williston – who specializes in ethics – described Dosman’s advertisement as “clearly an attempt at his joke” and the resulting action from the student association “an injustice.”

“Different measures could have been undertaken that were less severe, less punitive, and that would have allowed the issue to be resolved more amicably,” he said.

“He’s essentially been thrown out into the cold two weeks before Christmas, for what was at worst an error of judgement on his part.”

Still unclear are the fates of the approximately 10 people who worked for Dosman and the space used for the café.

The president of the Graduate Students’ Association initially agreed to an interview for this story, but later cancelled it.

With reporting by Abigail Bimman