Dillon Reagan was about to finish his shift at the tool rental department of a Home Depot in Portland, Oregon when a co-worker called for help. Reagan came running and found a woman screaming in the parking lot.
“I stepped outside and sure enough, there’s this lady who’s frantic and crying,” Reagan told local NBC affiliate KGW. “‘Somebody help me please. He’s stealing my kid, he’s kidnapping my child,’” Reagan said.
Reagan and his co-worker immediately called the police. The 911 dispatcher told the two Home Depot employees to follow the man and keep him in sight until officers could arrive on scene. Without hesitation, Reagan and his co-worker set out on foot after the kidnapper. “The only thing I was thinking about was the child’s safety,” Reagan said.
Three blocks later the police arrived the kidnapper was in handcuffs, mother and child were reunited, and the two employees were on their way back to work.
They had been gone for a little more than 10 minutes, but Reagan was immediately approached by his supervisor. “He said, ‘You did the wrong thing. You should have just gone back to work,'” Reagam said, but he doesn’t agree. “It was still the right thing to do,” Reagan explained about his decision to leave work. “I was kind of in a catch-22 situation, I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t.”
Home Depot investigated the incident and less than a month later Reagan was fired or his heroism. His store wrote him a letter of dismissal that read, “You were fired because you assisted the police in preventing a kidnapping. This was not a willful or wantonly negligent violation of the standards of behavior an employer has the right to expect of an employee.”
After hearing about this story, KGW reached out to Home Depot to ask for a comment. The home improvement superstore released the following statement, “This was a very complex situation, so we’re taking another look at the decision. We always want to be certain that we’re treating any associate fairly.”
Later that evening Home Depot sent another statement to the media, “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.”
KGW asked Reagan if he would accept Home Depot’s offer to give him his old job back. He responded, “Honestly, at this point, no.” He hopes his next employer will match his moral values and will not require a public relations backlash to do the “right thing.”
“We should be doing the right thing regardless of what company policy is, regardless of what the consequence is,” said Reagan. “What’s good and what’s right, supersedes what’s policy and what’s orders. Hands down.”
UPDATE July 10, 2017: Reagan has had a change of heart and decided to return to Home Depot. He posted the following message to Facebook.
Home Depot Update:
In the past few days, there has been an absolutely enormous flood of support coming in from all over the place. Thank you all so much!
On July 4th – 5th, I got absolutely bombarded with messages of support, questions about what had happened and requests from various news outlets for interviews. I participated in a few interviews and wound up on the local news that night.
Later, I found out that Home Depot’s PR team had prematurely sent emails and responded on various social media platforms by saying that they had reversed their decision to terminate my employment and had made me aware of this.
Unfortunately, there was some bad communication between their HR people and PR people and they jumped the gun. I had not yet been made aware of this decision until well after the fact.
I contacted Home Depot via email to address this, the other night and have been exchanging emails over the last 24 hours.
Home depot has offered to reinstate my position in the company along with appropriate back pay up to the date of termination as a show of good faith and has assured me that there will be no retaliation if I choose to take them up on their offer.
A few minutes ago, I sent one last email accepting their offer to reinstate my employment.
I’m still hesitant and wary about going back, but I feel that this is the right choice.
Wish me luck!