Worker Helps Extinguish Fire ... and Gets Fired

Abandoned greeting job to extinguish van's flames
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 14, 2013 4:45 PM CST
A screen grab from YouTube video of the Meijer store in question, posted by UpNorthLive.   (YouTube/UpNorthLive)

(Newser) – A Michigan man lost his job at retailer Meijer last month, and he tells it's because he helped fight a fire. David Bowers says he put safety above company rules when he dropped his greeting duties and hurried to a reported van fire in the parking lot. "When the guy came in and said his dashboard was on fire, I grabbed the fire extinguisher and I followed him outside," Bowers says. "Sure enough, his dashboard was on fire."

After Bowers took care of the fire, he headed back to his greeting position. But he was soon suspended, then fired for disobeying company policy. "One supervisor told me that my heart was in the right place, but my brain wasn't," he says. The van's owner, Ken Kuzon, calls the situation "ridiculous. Why should you be penalized for being a good samaritan?" Bowers had previously been suspended for dropping his duties to pursue a shoplifter. Meijer—which is seeing a Facebook backlash—tells that "this was not a random decision":

  • "We have well-established safety procedures for emergency situations and we train all team members on those procedures. These procedures help ensure the safety of everyone—both customers and team members, and our team members know there are consequences when they don’t follow them."
(Read more firing stories.)

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