Mark Beverly probably didn’t expect a hero’s welcome when he returned to his convenience-store job after fighting off an assault on a co-worker from a would-be robber, but he certainly didn’t expect to get fired, either. Super America, which operates a large chain of gas stations and convenience stores in the Midwest, terminated Beverly for violating the policy of the company by fighting with the robber. The termination leaves Beverly without unemployment benefits as well (via True North):

A local gas station employee is out of a job after he thought he was helping save someone’s life.

Mark Beverly was one of two employees inside a Roseville Super America when a robber came into the store on March 26.

Beverly was cleaning the bathroom when he heard the store clerk cry out. He came out to find a robber attacking the female employee.

“I just jumped on his back and trying to hit his head and pushed him over the counter. I jumped back over and he was out of there,” he said.

Later that day, Beverly returned to work only to be punished for his actions.

Super America’s policy actually makes sense — for a robbery. Having worked for many years in retail security, I can understand SA’s insistence on non-interference. That policy saves lives as the risk of the cash loss hardly requires an employee sacrifice their lives to guard it.

Once, on a business trip to train a client on our reporting system, we stayed at their hotel which coincidentally got robbed the night before our appointment. The head of security played us the video of the incident, which showed the overnight clerk fighting with the robber to keep him from grabbing the register, which had at best $200 in it. She got beaten pretty badly for her efforts, and wound up hospitalized for a couple of days. The head of security asked us what we thought, and wanting to be careful about insulting the employee, we guardedly offered that she certainly had courage. He scoffed, saying that she had guts but no brains, and that she was lucky to be alive — and he was right.

All that said, this incident was something quite different. Beverly’s co-worker was getting assaulted, and she could have been killed or seriously injured. At risk to himself, Beverly rescued her before either could happen. Not only is that a natural impulse, but it shows courage and empathy. What else was he supposed to do — call 911 and then watch her get beaten until the police arrived?

Super America should rethink this decision and recognize that defending a co-worker from assault is much different than resisting a robbery.

Tags: unemployment