A Wal-Mart worker fired after attempting to intervene and help a woman who was being assaulted by a man in a store parking lot in Detroit will be offered his job back.
The incident occurred at approximately 2:30 a.m. Sunday in a Wal-Mart parking lot in the town of Hartland in Livingston County, a suburb of Detroit.
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Kristopher Oswald, 30, was on break sitting in his car in the parking lot when he saw the assault unfold before him.
In an interview with ABC 7 Action News, the 30-year-old good Samaritan recalled seeing the female victim
, a "tiny little blonde girl," in her car attempting to drive away when a man threw his body over her vehicle's hood. She subsequently got out of her vehicle and attempted to remove him, "screaming as he jumped off the car, grabbed her by the arms and forced her against the car."
Oswald then ran over to the car to intervene and attempt to stop what he saw as an assault in progress.
"I asked her, 'do you need help, what's wrong?' and the [man] grabbed my hand. ... And started pounding me with his right hand," Oswald told ABC 7. "I ended up on top of him, controlling the situation when two other individuals attacked me from behind."
Oswald says Livingston County Sheriff's deputies quickly arrived at the scene and stopped the fight. It was not reported whether or not there were any arrests made by deputies.
What came next however truly shocked Oswald – a termination notice from Wal-Mart stating that "after a violation of company policy on his lunch break, it was determined to end his temporary assignment."
Oswald was considered a temporary employee, he says, because he had not yet completed Wal-Mart's initial mandatory 180-day period before he could be made permanent. Oswald had reportedly worked for Wal-Mart for about seven weeks when he was terminated.
Oswald contends he was fired from Wal-Mart for doing the right thing.
When asked about Oswald's firing, a Wal-Mart spokesperson told The Associated Press
that they understood the former employee was doing what he thought was the right thing, however it did not change the fact that it was a violation of the store's policy.
"We had to make a tough decision, one that we don't take lightly, and he's no longer with the company," company spokeswoman Ashley Hardie told the AP.
The company's action drew outrage on social media sites and the web, prompting officials of the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer to reconsider their decision. Spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said Wal-Mart has since concluded Oswald did nothing wrong and the will rehire Oswald, The Christian Science Monitor reports
“We realized his intentions were good, and we’ve contacted him to offer him his job back and welcome him back to the store,” she says. “Sometimes we don’t get everything right, and each circumstance is different.”
The policy that Oswald apparently violated prohibits Wal-Mart employees from assaulting fellow workers and physically detaining shoplifters, the AP reported. There is no exception written into the policy that allows for employees to assist others in instances of imminent danger or self-defense.
"I never expected all of this, and the least I expected was to not have a job," Oswald told ABC 7 Action News. "I don't even know what to put on an application about all of this. How do I say this ended?"
When asked if he would have done anything different knowing now what the outcome of his actions would be, Oswald said, "'I'm always going to act the right way and do the right thing. Even after all of this."
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