I quickly messaged her back to get the real story. As I listened to what had transpired it was clear that she hadn’t followed protocol exactly in an unusual situation. The district manager’s decision was to have her and the cook fired. They have been working at one of the under performing stores that had issues with theft. The DM was ‘fed up’ with ongoing problems at the store. The DM’s choice was to make an example out of my friend and the cook.
The next morning I take my friend back to the store to get her check and turn in her apron and shirt. The manager at the store wasn’t very responsive to her plea for keeping her job. She had shown proof that there was a ticket for the food and no money was missing from the cash register. What happened next totally shocked me!
My friend proceeds to call the DM, which I didn’t realize and starts talking to him on speakerphone. I was impressed with my friend’s ability to speak up on her on behalf with evidence that showed she was fired not for an actual infraction but suspicion of theft. The conversation became very emotional because my friend needed to work to pay her rent and phone bill. She asked the DM if he would give her a good reference and it was clear he was going to say she was fired for suspicion of theft.
I eventually ask permission to speak with the DM. He’s very willing to listen and I ask whether or not he can show some grace and give her a second chance understanding she had broken some service protocol but hadn’t actually stolen anything. He seemed like he genuinely cared for my friend but was frustrated with the underperformance of this store. It took a few minutes of discussing the impact this would have on the teen and his realization that this was a judgment call he could change and give an opportunity for redemption.
The end result with my friend’s plea and my two cents saw the DM give her the job back and reassigned her to a better store in a different location. My initial thought was that maybe this was work place discrimination that was based on racism until my friend explained that the DM was bi-racial. I could see in the look of my teen’s face that she had hope now instead of this fear of total failure.
This is an unusual situation because most likely the DM never expected this teen to self-advocate with a well thought out explanation. The end result was my teen got back her job and a sense of self-worth and dignity! I was so proud of her and the opportunity for me to encourage her. Yet, the sad reality is that most in a similar circumstance wouldn’t have had the courage or ability to stand up to their supervisor or DM.