When Maurice Rucker told a customer at a Albany N.Y. Home Depot to leash his dog, he thought he was just following proper protocol by enforcing the rules. Nonetheless, he was met with a belligerent diatribe of racism and prejudice by the unnamed customer. Ultimately, the exchange led to Rucker being fired.
According to The Washington Post, Home Depot stated that they terminated Rucker because he failed to “disengage and alert management about a customer confrontation,” spokesman Matthew Harrigan wrote in an email to the paper.
Last Friday (Jul 20) the home improvement chain store allegedly took back their decision to fire the 60 year-old, and promised to compensate him for it. Still, Mr. Rucker made up his mind about not returning back to the store after working there for 10 years. In hindsight, he says, he always felt ostracized while being there.
“I went to work every day thinking I could be fired. Every task I did, I wondered if I could get fired for this,” Rucker said. “There was a passive bias toward me at that particular store.”
“I felt like there wasn’t a whole lot of love for me there,” he continued.
NBC division WNYT News reported that he recalled that the day of the incident, the customer told him, “'If Trump wasn’t president, you wouldn’t even have a job. ... You’re from the ghetto, what do you know?'”
“You’re lucky I’m at work right now because if not, you wouldn’t be talking to me like this,” Rucker replied to the man, according to The Post. Instead of going back to Home Depot, Rucker opted to drive for Lyft and continue his music career. Nonetheless, he’s gotten a lot of support. Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy has reportedly called Rucker to offer him some employment with the county government.
“No one deserves to be treated with such hostility, and I was concerned with the way the situation was handled. [His] former colleagues and customers have all attested to his professionalism at work, and I look forward to meeting with him,” McCoy told The Post through a spokesperson.
“What happened to Mr. Rucker was nothing short of an injustice,” he continued.