An Oregon bank clerk who gave a customer $ 20 of her own money on Christmas Eve was fired from her job for the kind gesture.
Portland-based Emily James was working as a senior banker at a US bank call center when a customer came on the phone explaining how a delay in cashing his monthly paycheck would leave him penniless over the holidays.
Marc Eugenio of Clackamas had been on the phone with James for over an hour, but it quickly became apparent that his check for more than $ 1,000 would not be cashed until after Christmas.
James felt sorry for him and noticed that he was speaking only a short distance from the call center. He got her supervisor’s permission and traveled to Eugenio to give him $ 20 of her own money for gasoline.
“I felt awful about the whole situation and there was no way to get the money off his paycheck,” James told DailyMail.com. “The only options I had were out of the box, so I decided to go over and meet him.”
Emily James of Portland, pictured, was working at the US bank when a customer called to explain how a delay in cashing his paycheck would render him penniless
James realized the man was not far from the call center where she worked and decided to go to him and give the gentleman $ 20 for the gas money. She was later fired for the act
“I decided to help him because I was in the same situation. I am stranded and feel helpless. Christmas is the one day of the year when you are friendly to one another, ”continues James.
She thought little about her good deed until almost a week later she was told that she was being fired for “improperly interacting with a customer.”
The supervisor who gave her permission to do the good deed also lost his job, according to The Oregonian.
Eugenio has since called the layoffs “ridiculous”.
“I was a US Bank customer, I needed help, and they did everything,” he said. “I felt so bad. She was the only one who helped me. ‘
“I said, ‘I wish I only had $ 20 to get home,’ said Eugenio when he told James the phone call. ‘And she said,’ Wait, hold on. ”
James, who takes calls from customers all over the country, says it’s rare to speak to someone locally, but in this particular case, Eugenio was only a few miles away.
She said it felt like a sign – especially on Christmas Eve.
She told Eugenio to stay and she would be there in 30 minutes with some petrol money.
“I didn’t want her to do it,” said Eugenio. “But I’m not so proud that I refuse to help.”
James agreed to meet Marc Eugenio at this gas station, which was about 14 miles from the bank
James was given permission to drive about 14 miles from her office to the gas station where Eugenio was waiting around 3:30 p.m.
“I gave him $ 20 in cash, said Merry Christmas and got back to work,” she told OregonLive.
A week later, a senior manager at the bank fired James (pictured) for “illicit interaction with a customer”.
“It was like, ‘Wow, she really cares,” said Eugenio. “Most supervisors might have tried, but no one would have ever come out because I was stranded. She had a big heart. She believed what I said . ‘
A week later, on New Year’s Eve, James was suddenly called to speak to the regional service manager.
James stated, “She said,” We’re sorry, we cannot keep your job due to unauthorized interaction with a customer. “
“They were worried about my safety,” James said. “He could have kidnapped or shot me. But I would not have gone or even tried to ask if it would be okay if I believed this person was going to hurt me. ‘
“You’re going to fire me for doing something good?” James asked her manager. “I couldn’t even stand up for myself or contact HR,” she told DailyMail.com.
James, who worked for the US bank for two years, says this is the first time she has been disciplined at her job.
In fact, it has received more than a dozen certificates, awards, and accolades.
One of them for a Silver Shield Award is: “We’re doing the right thing. We believe in that. That’s how we act. And it’s a core value that you recently brought to life through your work ”, while another quote from April 2019 was for“ putting people first ”.
“I just don’t see why you wouldn’t help someone if you had the chance,” James said. “It’s Christmas Eve, it’s been a rough time for people and you’re going to leave someone stranded? I couldn’t do this with a clear conscience as I knew I could fix it, or at least bring it home. Had I known then that I was going to be fired, I would have just kept the check because that would have absolutely fired me. ‘
James says she originally wanted her job back after feeling unfair about how things were going, but now she’s not so sure.
“I don’t think I want to continue working for someone who would,” she said.
The US Bank has since issued a statement regarding James’ behavior:
‘Our policies and procedures for call center representatives are designed to support and protect our employees and customers. Ms. James was terminated because she was not using the right processes and procedures to help the client and opted for an approach that put herself and the bank at risk. Based on a review of calls with this customer, our investigation concluded that Ms. James could have helped the customer if she had simply followed the legitimate solution that was known and available to her.
“Instead, Ms. James made a conscious choice to break the rules and expose herself and the bank to unnecessary risk. In such situations, it is always difficult to take disciplinary action as it affects people. We never take that lightly. But it was necessary to protect our employees and our customers. ‘