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Bank Worker's Christmas Eve Kindness Gets Her Canned

Emily James fired from US Bank after giving broke customer $20
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2020 1:01 PM CST
In this July 16, 2007, file photo, a US Bank branch is shown in Bloomington, Minn.   (AP Photo/Jim Mone, file)

(Newser) – One of US Bank's core tenets is "We put people first," but when one of its own senior bankers tried to do just that, she was fired. Emily James tells the Oregonian that on Dec. 23, she was working at the bank's call center in Gresham, Ore., when she heard from Marc Eugenio, who needed help lifting a hold on a $1,000-plus paycheck from a new job. James tells KOIN 6 that Eugenio told her without that cash, he couldn't afford living expenses or Christmas gifts for his two young kids. James advised him to visit his local branch the next day, Christmas Eve, to have the hold lifted—but when he went, the bank manager was on vacation and no one else could lift the hold. He called James back in frustration and happened to mention he was at a gas station about 15 miles away from the call center. "I wish I had just $20 bucks to get home," Eugenio says he told James.

That's when James asked her supervisor if she could head over to the gas station, where she handed Eugenio $20 in cash for gas, then headed back to work. On New Year's Eve, however, she got some bad news: She was being fired. The bank issued a statement to the New York Post saying that "James did not use the available solutions to remedy the customer's situation and instead put herself and the bank at risk with her actions." James said the supervisor who gave the OK for her to meet up with Eugenio was also canned, though US Bank wouldn't speak about employee matters. The publicity surrounding what happened could spur US Bank to rescind its pink slip, but James isn't sure she would accept her job back. "I don't think I would want to continue to work for someone who would do that," she tells the Oregonian. (Read more fired stories.)

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