PEARLAND, Texas — A 70-year-old veteran says he’s out of a job after he tried to stop some thieves from leaving the Home Depot store where he worked. It appears what he saw as doing the right thing was against company policy.
Jim Tinney says trying to do the right thing has guided him pretty well in life.
“In the Army, they train you to do things like that,” Tinney said.
Recently, Tinney said he saw three men carrying tool sets worth thousands of dollars to the checkout area at Home Depot. He said they seemed nervous.
“One of them hollered ‘let’s go,’ and they all grabbed their kits and started heading out,” Tinney said.
Tinney said without thinking, he tossed the paint roller extension he was holding, and ran to stop one of the men.
“I just automatically went like this and threw the stick at their feet,” Tinney said.
The men ended up getting away. Tinney said he thought it was over, until two weeks later, when he was fired.
He said he never imagined his actions would get him fired.
“No. I did not at all,” Tinney said.
Tinney admitted he learned during training at the store not to confront shoplifters, but he said his decision to act was a reflex.
A spokesman for Home Depot said in a statement:
“We have a strict policy that only our trained security personnel can pursue and engage shoplifters. We’ve had deaths and serious injury over the years, and no amount of merchandise is more important than the safety of our associates and customers.”
“I think they could have written me up, reprimanded me. But terminate me? That’s pretty strong,” Tinney said.
Tinney said he’s having trouble finding a new job.
“I’m 70 years old. I need to work. I needed that job. I enjoyed working with customers, helping figuring out what they wanted to do. It’s fun,” Tinney said.
It’s been a tough lesson for a man who’s been around the world, serving his country. He said serving the company he worked for might mean holding off on what seems like a good deed.
Home Depot officials noted in their statement that during a 24-hour period, shoplifters pulled guns at two different stores on both ends of the country.