Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bank teller chases robber, fired

Sometimes it doesn't pay to be a hero. It can cost you a job, like it did for a banker teller in Seattle.

Bank teller Jim Nicholson, 30, who worked at a Seattle branch for two years, said he understands the bank's strict policy that employees comply with robbery demands and avoid confrontations. But his actions during a robbery attempt have him on the unemployment line.

Nicholson told the Seattle Times that instinct took over when a thin man in a beanie cap, dark clothing and sunglasses pushed a black backpack across the bank counter on July 28 and demanded money.

Nicholson threw the bag to the floor, lunged toward the man and demanded to see a weapon. The man bolted for the door with Nicholson in pursuit.

He chased him several blocks before knocking him to the ground with the help of a passer-by. Nicholson then held the man until police arrived.

On Thursday, Nicholson was fired. Police and the FBI discourage such heroics. Bank tellers are trained to get robbers out the door quickly and are advised against possibly escalating a situation over money that's federally insured.

Nicholson said he understands why he was fired.

"They tell us that we're just supposed to comply, but my instincts kicked in and I did what's best to stop the guy," he said. "I thought if I let him go he would rob more banks and cause more problems."

OK, it's against bank policy, but firing the guy seems extreme. Why not congratulate him and tell him never to do that again, that his actions may have put people in danger? In an America online poll, 68 percent disagreed with the bank's decision.

If this would have happened in the South, the guy would have probably earned a promotion. Here's betting he doesn't stay unemployed long.

No comments: