An Army veteran who put himself in danger to stop a group of men from shoplifting at the Home Depot where he worked was rewarded for his efforts with a pink slip. Now, the 70-year-old wants answers as to why he was terminated.
Jim Tinney, who worked at a Home Depot store in Pearland, Texas, sprang into action when he spotted three men stealing tool sets. He hurled a paint roller extension at one of them in an attempt to get him to drop the goods, but the suspects were able to flee the scene. No injuries were reported.
The vet credited his Army training for giving him the reflexes to react so swiftly, but he also admitted that his response to the shoplifting in progress violated his employment training.
“I think they could have written me up, reprimanded me, but terminate me?” he told ABC13. “That’s pretty strong. I’m 70 years old. I need to work. I needed that job. I enjoyed working with customers figuring out what they wanted to do. It’s fun.”
A spokesman for Home Depot insisted that its policies are ironclad on the matter. Only trained security personnel are allowed to intervene when shoplifting is involved, a policy that the company set in place to prevent customers and employees from getting hurt.
“What I can tell you now is that we have a strict policy that only our trained security personnel can pursue and engage shoplifter,” Stephen Holmes, director of corporate communications at Home Depot, said in a statement. “We’ve had deaths and serious injury over the years, and no amount of merchandise is more important than the safety of our associates and customers.”
Holmes went on to claim that well-intended employees have been bitten, stabbed, held at gunpoint, and even left with severe brain damage after running afoul of shoplifters.
“So you can see, it’s a very serious safety risk to everyone, even when it doesn’t appear to be,” he concluded.