According to a report from WJBK in Detroit, MI, a local firefighter was fired for bringing a watermelon to work his first day on the job.
Robert Pattison, 41, introduced himself to the other firefighters at Engine 55 by bringing in a welcome gift, which, according to Second Battalion Chief Shawn McCarty, is “a tradition” when firefighters join.
“It’s not mandatory, it’s voluntary,” he said. “You come in bearing gifts. The usual gift is doughnuts, but you are allowed to bring whatever you want to bring in.”
However, Pattison decided to take the tradition in a slightly different direction, by bringing in a watermelon.
Unfortunately for Pattison, some of his fellow colleagues were offended by the “racially insensitive” gesture, as the vast majority of Engine 55’s firefighters are black.
“When you get your first detail at a firehouse you pretty much know what you are getting yourself into,” said Patrick Trout. “So you would have to say it was probably a bad call.”
Pattison, however, claimed that he did not bring the watermelon as a joke and did not intend to offend and of his fellow colleagues.
Nevertheless, Fire Commissioner Eric Jones released a statement, indicating that Pattison was officially dismissed from the unit:
There is zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior inside the Detroit Fire Department. On Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, at Engine 55, a trial firefighter (probationary employee) engaged in unsatisfactory work behavior which was deemed offensive and racially insensitive to members of the Detroit Fire Department. After a thorough investigation, it was determined that the best course of action was to terminate the employment of this probationary employee.
McCarty, however, does not necessary agree with the Commissioner’s decision, and believes Pattison should not have lost his job over this.
“I don’t think so,” McCarty said. “Between what he did and what was there are a few things that could have been done.”
I tell you what, folks. This is a sad time we are living in. Just because the liberal outlets such as HuffPost and the Atlantic claim that watermelons are racist symbols, it doesn’t mean that they are.
And to think that a man has actually lost his job over this? Unbelievable.