Updated: Saturday, July 21, 2018, 8:40 a.m. EST: Maurice Rucker has gotten his job back, but if you’re looking for a way to reach out and personally support him there is a GoFundMe campaign running in his honor with the goal of raising $5,000 for Rucker. GoFundMe informed The Root that they are coordinating with the event organizer to ensure that the funds do in fact go to Maurice.
As of the time of this update, the campaign, which is trending, has raised more than $1,300.
Updated: Friday, July 20, 2018, 6:35 p.m. EST: The Home Depot has miraculously seen the light and decided—after pointed social media shaming, and articles like this—to offer a ten-year employee his job back, after firing him for defending himself against a racist and verbally abusive customer.
Deputy Managing Editor Yesha Callahan, received a forwarded email from company spokesperson Matt Harrigan, saying that the company has changed its mind about the employment status of 60-year-old Maurice Rucker. It reads in part: “We’ve taken another look at this and we are offering Maurice his job back.”
Callahan and another journalist, Nancy Levine, had been going in on Home Depot all day on social media with tweets like this:
And this (among others):
Suffice it to say, it seems like the company got the memo (and probably a lot of angry calls and tweets) and reversed course.
Look at that—service journalism, and journalists working together! In the words of Ice Cube, “today was a good day.”
This is America ... where, if you are an employee at Home Depot, you’re apparently expected to take repeated verbal abuse from a customer without verbally responding, however calmly, yourself.
Maurice Rucker, 60, lost his job at an Albany, N.Y., Home Depot after he said he was subjected to racist verbal abuse, which he said was unlike anything he’s ever experienced. The fall out has left him shocked, WNYT reports.
Rucker said the incident all started last Thursday when a customer approached checkout with an unleashed dog.
“I said to him, ‘Sir, when you have your dog in here we prefer that you keep it on a leash.’” He turned around and said, ‘Fuck you. You’re an asshole you’re a piece of shit,’” Rucker recalled.
The customer didn’t stop there, adding, “If Trump wasn’t president, you wouldn’t even have a job” and “You’re from the ghetto, what do you know?’” according to Rucker.
“I’ve lived all over the country and I’ve had no one talk to me the way that this guy talked to me,” Rucker said.
The barrage of insults continued until the 60-year-old couldn’t take it anymore.
“’You’re lucky I’m at work, because if I wasn’t, this wouldn’t be happening, or you wouldn’t be talking to me like this,’” Rucker recalled snapping back.
Then, get this, the man left, but then returned because he forgot his dog. He then verbally attacked Rucker again, before leaving for the final time.
Rucker thought the situation was all said and done, but when he went to work on Tuesday he was told he was being fired, something he feels is drastic, considering he’s been working with Home Depot for 10 years and was just recently named “Cashier of the Month.”
According to Home Depot, the harsh discipline was because Rucker did not follow protocol when dealing with the irate customer, who called to complain about him after the fact.
“The problem here is that he had several opportunities to disengage and contact management to deal with the customer. We’re appalled by this customer’s behavior, but we also must require associates to follow proper protocol to defuse a situation for the sake of their safety and the safety of other associates and customers,” Home Depot Spokesperson Stephen Holmes told WNYT.
Rucker said that the customer accused Rucker of being racist.
“He said that I was being racist and that I said I would knock him down. He just told him a bunch of lies and it seems like they believed him,” Rucker, who was making less than $13, told the news site.
Now Rucker is considering looking for an attorney, and since he is out of his job at Home Depot, is hoping to work with children, to continue the work he did do at Home Depot, which included running kids’ workshops.