Apparently Autozone is a firm believer that no good deed should go unpunished.
An AutoZone worker who stopped an armed robbery by retrieving a weapon from his truck said he was fired by the company for violating their gun policy.
Devin McLean and his store manager were about to close the AutoZone in York County, Va. when a gunman barged into the store.
“He pulled a gun from his waist band and demanded me and my manager go back into the office,” McLean told Fox News.
At some point, McLean was left in a restroom while the gunman made the manager open the store safe. That’s when McLean, a 23-year-old Air Force veteran, bolted through a side door and ran to his truck.
He returned through the front door holding a Glock 40 – pointed directly at the masked robber.
“I told him to freeze and to drop his weapon,” McLean told Fox News.
Instead, the robber took off – last seen running down the street from the store.
“I watched him run down the street,” he said. “I came back inside and made sure my manager was okay and he called the police.”
The York County Sheriff’s Dept. believes the bandit is responsible for as many as 30 robberies across the region.
“One of the officers asked why I didn’t shoot the robber,” McLean said.
Sheriff J.D. Diggs told Fox News he considers McLean to be a hero.
“He did a very brave thing,” the sheriff said. “He put himself in jeopardy in an attempt to make sure his friend was safe. He did a very brave thing.”
The part-time worker’s manager was especially thankful and credited McLean with saving his life.
But two days after the robbery – and just a week before Thanksgiving – McLean was fired.
Television station WTKR reported that McLean violated corporate policy by leaving the store and returning with a weapon.
The station spoke to a representative from the company’s corporate office who said they had a “zero tolerance policy for employees having weapons inside the store.”
An AutoZone spokesman told Fox News they will not discuss the matter.
“It was a surprise to me,” McLean said. “I did the right thing. I saved the company $2,000. I saved one of their manager’s lives – and you’re letting me go? It was a slap in the face.”
McLean said the firing came at a difficult time. He’s about to be a first-time father.
“We’re having a little boy,” he said. “I remember when the guy came in with that gun. My initial thought was I want to make it home to my family. I want to have the opportunity to meet my son and for my son to meet his dad. And for someone to come in and shove a gun in your face?”
So why not just keep running? Why go back inside the store – and risk your own life?
“I regard them as my family,” McLean said of his co-workers. “You’re not going to leave your brother or sister behind.”
It’s a lesson he learned in the Air Force.
“Never leave a man behind,” he said. “I’m not going to leave my brother in a room with a guy with a gun – that’s threatening his life.”
In spite of losing his job, McLean said his actions would be the same if it happened again.
“I wouldn’t change anything,” he said.
The sheriff said he was disappointed to hear that McLean lost his job on account of stopping the robbery.
“That’s certainly unfortunate,” he said. “They should be doing something to reward that young man instead of firing him.”
Sheriff Diggs said AutoZone has also sent an unintended message to the community.
“The company has now sent a message to every would-be robber out there – ‘Hey we’re open for business and unarmed. Come on in and take our money,’” he said.
Meanwhile, the backlash against AutoZone is spreading. Customers have launched a boycott against the company on Facebook and a petition has been started urging them to rehire McLean.
“There’s a Pep Boys right around the corner,” one irate customer wrote on Facebook.
All stores have the same policy. You cant protect the store, or the goods. In this case they should have let the robbers get away and then looted the store for whatever they wanted then called the police and make one report. Blame it all on the robber.
If you protect yourself that is one thing. To go back and protect someone else is acting like police and these stores didn't hire you to be police. If they wanted a police man they would hire one and post his butt at the door. That is the reality of it.
Dont like it then if you decide to work for someone and want to carry a gun, never let anyone know. If you really dont like it, go to work for yourself and you make the rules. I couldnt stand working for anyone that is why i am self employed. Nobody tells me what i can or cant do. Right or wrong its on me.
I would almost bet if they had let the robbery take place and made it out with their lives, they would have both lost their jobs for giving the thief the money even thought the employees are told to just give them what they want. Sorry, but someone waves a gun in my face, I'm returnung the favor.
Its cheaper for the corp. if your killed and not injured. If your killed they pay one lump sum and thats it. If you injured they pay a lot more. Hospital, workers comp. etc. The big wigs don't want to lose any of that bonus money.
Too bad he didn't pull the trigger, the robber is just going to strike again thanks to more corporate BS. Autozone is a no-go for me too. Unfortunately there are just way to many companies out there that have these stupid policies, can't avoid them all, but I can do whatever I can to spend as little as possible at their businesses.
At a previous place of employment, they had a "no gun" policy, including locked in your car in the parking lot. They knew plenty of folks had guns in their vehicles, but they let common sense prevail. They just wanted to ensure that they were out of sight and not coming into the building. I highly doubt that if someone were to do something similar to what this guy did that they would be fired for protecting a fellow employee and the business.
What are you gonna do, talk the alien to death? -- (on Sigourney Weaver's worry about Guns in Aliens)
"Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands."
"I carry a small gun to compensate for my huge Blue press."
Fired off a VERY HOT e-mail to Autozone and also informed them that I work for the largest privately owned water utility in the U.S. and I will also send out an e-mail to all employees with purchasing cards to avoid them as well.
Be yourself, Always ....
Unless you can be Chuck Norris, Then be Chuck Norris, Always