Sometimes, no good deed goes unpunished, or at least that was the experience of a Philadelphia man suspended without pay after rescuing a stranded cat.
Verizon employee Maurice German was working earlier this month when a frantic neighbor pointed to a local feline, Princess Momma, was stuck on top of a nearby utility pole. The owner had already called the fire department, animal rescue and telephone company in charge of the pole, but the frightened animal had already been stranded for 12 hours, without food, water, or any apparent means of getting back down to the ground.
So, Maurice jumped into his company’s hydraulic equipment to go rescue the cat, who was clearly numb with fear. It never crossed his mind that he could be punished for rescuing an animal in need.
Unfortunately, his employer, Verizon, interpreted the situation differently. Whereas German raced to help an innocent animal, the telecommunications company saw a rouge employee using company equipment without permission. And to stress their displeasure, they went on to suspend this well-intentioned man for three weeks without pay.
Now the company’s actions have sparked outrage online, leaving the communications giant on the defensive. “Really #verizon, you would suspend a worker because he saved a cat😿!” You suck!” one Twitter user wrote, echoing a common theme. Others vowed to switch carriers. The outrage was such that Verizon tried to smooth over the resulting PR nightmare by donating to a local animal rescue.
Fortunately, the internet is also filled with cat lovers, and – despite Verizon’s inexplicable move – they’ve rallied behind German in a big way. Two GoFundMe pages had been set up to help Maurice recoup some of the wages he’ll lose in the wake of his suspension.
At time of writing, both pages had exceeded their fundraising goals and closed after collectively raising about $10,000 for this heroic worker. Hopefully, next time this heroic employee spots an animal in need, this virtual outpouring of support will inspire him to help all over again.
What do you think about this story? What would you do in Maurice German’s situation?
J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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