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Verizon Suspends Hero Employee for Using Work Gear to Save a Cat Stuck on a Telephone Pole

Junie Sihlangu
Mar 26, 2019
02:21 P.M.

On March 15, a cat named Princess Momma got stuck on a telephone pole. Luckily for her, a Verizon worker was around the neighborhood the next day and helped her.

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However, the worker’s employee wasn’t happy that he used company resources for the extraction and he was suspended.

The community of Port Richmond came together to help save Princess Momma the cat who was stranded on top of a telephone pole. According to Amanda Boyce, the cat got stuck on the pole on Monmouth Street at around 10:30 p.m. that day.

The following day, Maurice German a Verizon employee happened to be in the neighborhood. By then, Momma had been stuck for around 12 hours.

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The cat belongs to one of Boyce’s neighbors. They tried to rescue the cat from around 12:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. on that Saturday morning but they failed.

The fire department was called by the cat’s owner. They also called the animal rescue and the telephone company in an attempt to save their pet but the calls went unanswered.

Serious action was finally taken when Sandy McLeish, an animal activist, found German in the neighborhood. The Verizon worker agreed to help rescue Momma and he managed to do so successfully using the company’s "bucket" truck hydraulic lift.

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The rescue was captured via cell phone. However, the story didn’t have a happy ending for German who was suspended for three weeks without pay.

A Verizon spokesman said German's good deed violated safety protocols. He explained that the act had been dangerous due to the electrical lines in the area, and for this reason, the company had no choice but to suspend him.

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Verizon issued the following statement:

"We take no joy when our employees face consequences related to their job duties. We are, however, fully committed and responsible for keeping our employees and customers safe. All of our field technicians go through extensive training that is focused on workplace safety. Our goal is to keep our employees and our customers out of harm's way.”

The statement further noted:

“For safety reasons, our trucks and related equipment are not intended to be used in the area in which he was operating, specifically around electrical wires. While our actions may not be popular, he potentially put his life and those around him in jeopardy. To show our support for animal rescue efforts, Verizon has made a donation to the Pennsylvania SPCA in Fishtown, an organization that helps care for and provide homes for abandoned cats and other animals."

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Hearing about German’s suspension, Boyce took to Facebook on March 22 and wrote a public post directed at Verizon. She stated: “This generous man is now at risk of losing his job! You should be ashamed of yourselves VERIZON! What kind of company disciplines an employee for SAFELY helping a community!”

Using the hashtag #cancelverizon she added:

“I understand the risk this man took to save the cat, however he used all of his safety care knowledge and safely rescued the cat! How dare you punish him for helping your customers! This beautiful story turned ugly thanks to you!”

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To placate social media users and cat lovers who were upset about German’s suspension, Verizon revealed that they’d made a donation to the Pennsylvania Animal Rescue & Protection, or SPCA. This was their attempt to show their support for animal rescue groups.

However, the act didn’t appease the upset masses who took to social media to vent against the company. Two GoFundMe pages were set up to compensate German for his lost wages.

One of the campaigns was created by German's colleague and they’ve both surpassed their initial goals.

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In another case that occurred last month, Anglo American had to suspend operations at its Moranbah North coking coal mine in Australia after an incident happened. There was a collision between a personnel carrier and a grader.

One of their workers was killed and a number of others were injured. Goes to show that safety is key but even if you follow protocol; accidents still happen.

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