Man says he was fired for 'doing the right thing'
PORTLAND, Ore. – Dillon Reagan, 32, spent the past four years working at The Home Depot at Mall 205, but last month he says he was fired for “doing the right thing.”
Reagan says he was closing for the night on May 12 in the tool rental section when a fellow employee began banging on the door.
“It was one of our lot associates saying, ‘Hey! There is something going on, I need the phone, we need to call police!’” recalled Reagan.
The employee told Reagan the man assaulted the woman, reached in her vehicle, and pulled a child out of the backseat.
Reagan looked outside and says he saw a man walking away with a child in his arms; the woman was following behind. Reagan heard her screaming, “Somebody help me, he's kidnapping my kid, he's stealing my kid!”
To them, it seemed like a kidnapping. Reagan says his co-worker called police.
“They said, don't touch him, don't engage with him, but keep an eye on him. Let us know where he is going so we know where to go when we get there,” Reagan said.
Reagan and his co-worker left the parking lot and followed the man down the street. He says police eventually arrived and returned the child back to the mother. Reagan gave a statement to police and went back to work.
“There was any number of twists or turns that he could have taken once he got off the premises that the police wouldn’t have known where to look for him. I think we did the right thing,” said Reagan.
When he returned, Reagan learned he apparently did the wrong thing.
“I broke the safety violation of leaving the store premises while on duty,” said Reagan.
About four weeks later, and after multiple meetings with his manager, Reagan was fired.
He filed for unemployment the same night he was let go. The Oregon Employment Department (OED) approved his unemployment application and, according to a letter he received from the department on June 29, they found that he was fired because he “assisted the police in preventing a kidnapping.”
“It's kind of a Catch-22 situation, I had to break the rules in order to do the right thing. I couldn't do the wrong thing, because it was the wrong thing,” said Reagan.
At the time, Reagan says he didn’t realize he was doing the wrong thing. After he was fired, when asked if he would do it again he said, “I absolutely would do it again, no changes, without hesitation.”
OED could not comment on what happened.
Portland Police determined the incident was not actually a kidnapping and no crimes were committed. Apparently, it was some sort of domestic dispute.
Stephen Holmes, a spokesperson for Home Depot, could not comment on details of what happened, but initially told KATU via email that this is a complex situation and that they would take another look at it. A few hours later Home Depot decided they would give Reagan his job back.
“We took a second look at this and have let Mr. Reagan know that we’ve decided to reverse our decision, based on the circumstances. We always do our diligence to make sure associates are treated fairly, which we’ve done in this case,” said Holmes.
Reagan first told KATU that he does not intend to work for Home Depot again and will not shop there. After learning that the hardware store would give him his job back, KATU has not been able to reach him for further comment. Wednesday night he had an interview for a new job.
“I don't really expect them to do anything different, honestly, but maybe if enough times something like this happens, sometimes you have to break the rules to do the right thing,” he said.
Reagan admits that he had a past incident on his record. He says he cursed at a fellow employee and was given a final notice. However, he does not think he should have been fired for what happened on May 12.