A former grocery store clerk says he was fired for being a Good Samaritan after he stopped an alleged thief from running away with an elderly woman’s purse.
Amir Shedyak, 20, says the incident happened last month while he was working at a Hannaford grocery store in Burlington, Vt. He saved the woman’s purse and was later fired for violating his workplace’s safety rules, according to a post on his Facebook page that has generated thousands of reactions.
“I just feel that what I had done was not wrong and should not have resulted in me being fired,” he wrote.
Shedyak had been at the store for four years and was employee of the month earlier this year, WCAX reports. He is also a part-time volunteer firefighter.
He says he had just clocked in at work when another employee reported the theft to him. He took off running, spotted the suspect and chased him down.
“He had the purse in his hand,” Shedyak told WCAX.
He says he managed to pin the suspect down and retrieve the purse, but the man slithered free and escaped while he was on the phone with police.
Shedyak says he was glad to return the purse to its owner.
“She was trying to offer me money,” he said. Shedyak turned the woman down and said he just wanted to do what’s right.
“It’s not like I was going to do this to be some hero,” he said.
Adrian Moore, 29, was later arrested on a larceny charge in connection with the incident, according to police.
Hannaford suspended Shedyak while it investigated the incident, then called him in and fired him, according to his post.
“The outcome resulted in me getting fired due to safety issues while on company time,” he wrote.
Shedyak told WCAX that he was frustrated by the result, because things might have turned out differently if he had not been on the clock.
“Why should it make a difference that, hey, I’m clocked in now — he’s in trouble. If I wasn’t clocked in — oh, you did a good job,” he said.
Hannaford management declined to comment on “personnel matters” when asked about the case.
Local attorney Pietro Lynn says Shedyak was likely fired due to legal liability concerns.
“It’s not uncommon at all for employers to discourage employees from laying hands on customers,” he told WXAX.
He pointed out that such an encounter could have led to an injury and an expensive lawsuit.
“There are so many cases in Vermont where employers are held responsible for the wrongful acts of their employees,” he said.
Shedyak says he’s found a new job since the incident happened.
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