A Verizon worker did a good deed by rescuing a cat stuck on top of a telephone pole but instead of being rewarded or praised, he has been suspended without pay by the company, CBS MoneyWatch reported.
The employee, Maurice German, used the company's trucks and hydraulic lift to reach "Princess Momma," who had been desperately clinging to the utility pole for 12 hours in Philadelphia earlier this month.
Amanda Boyce, of Port Richmond, told CBS Philadelphia that the cat's owner had contacted the fire department, animal rescue as well as the telephone company but German, who happened to be nearby, jumped to help rescue the frightened feline from the top of the telephone pole.
Upon hearing about the incident, Verizon suspended German for three weeks without pay. A company spokesperson said this was because the employee was acting outside of Verizon's safety rules by using its equipment to reach the scaredy cat.
"For safety reasons, our trucks and related equipment are not intended to be used in the area in which he was operating, specifically around electrical wires," a Verizon spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch. "While our actions may not be popular, he potentially put his life and those around him in jeopardy."
The telecommunications company has donated funds to local animal rescue groups but the gesture did little to quell the outrage that had erupted on social media. By the weekend #MauriceGerman was trending.
"I sincerely hope @verizon reverses it’s decision to suspend #mauricegerman for going above and beyond his call of duty!!!," one Twitter user posted.
"Shame on you @verizon for suspending #MauriceGerman," chided Elia Miranda.
Other Twitter users called Verizon "stingy," "heartless" and "ANTI-pet." Meanwhile, two GoFundMe pages were set up to help compensate German for the wages he lost during his suspension. Together they have already raised over $10,600 and the numbers are still climbing.
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