Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

December 14, 2013

Meijer worker says he's fired for putting out fire

GAYLORD, Mich. (AP) — A retired mail carrier said he's been fired from a job as a greeter at a retail store in northern Michigan after rushing to the parking lot to put out a vehicle fire.

David Bowers, 62, said he grabbed a fire extinguisher when a customer entered a Meijer store in Gaylord store last month pleading for help. Meijer, a Midwest chain, won't specifically comment on the matter but said it has policies for dealing with an emergency.

"The one supervisor told me that my heart was in the right place but my brain wasn't," Bowers told TV station WPBN-WTOM.

His wife, Lynn Bowers, said the couple decided to go public after receiving a cheery Christmas card from Meijer just a few days ago.

"I was furious. We couldn't believe it," she told The Associated Press on Friday, referring to the card. "It was the perfect job for him. He loves to talk."

Ken Kuzon needed to put out a fire in the glove box of his van on Nov. 14. Bowers said he left the store and handed a fire extinguisher to Kuzon. The flames were out in seconds.

Bowers, who was paid $9.30 an hour, returned to his post greeting shoppers.

"My truck would've been completely burned. ... I just think it's ridiculous. Why should you be penalized for being a good Samaritan?" Kuzon said.

Grand Rapids-based Meijer released a statement suggesting Bowers should not have dashed to the van.

"We have well-established safety procedures for emergency situations, and we train all team members on those procedures," Meijer said. "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."

Bowers had worked at Meijer for about 4½ years. He and his wife delivered mail for years in the Detroit area before retiring from the U.S. Postal Service and moving to northern Michigan.

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