A Philadelphia-area Verizon employee named Maurice German has found himself in some minor hot water with his employer, after he decided to use company equipment to rescue a cat named Princess Momma that had been stuck on a utility pole for 12 hours.
According to media reports, German came to the rescue after the cat’s owner called the local fire department, animal rescue and the telephone company. All, apparently, to no avail. To avoid catastrophe — no, I’m not going to hyphenate that word to create the pun, as much as I’d like to — German reportedly used the hydraulic lift in a Verizon “bucket” truck to scoop the kitty to safety
That’s apparently in violation of the company’s safety rules, for which he was suspended without pay for three weeks. It’s interesting to consider how exactly these rules can be applied — what if an employee successfully stops someone from robbing a store? Are they disciplined for putting themselves in harm’s way?
“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 company spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch about the cat rescue. “While our actions may not be popular, he potentially put his life and those around him in jeopardy.”
Naturally, this story has spread like wildlife across social media. To the point that more than one crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help pay German’s expenses.
One fellow Verizon co-worker launched this GoFundMe campaign, which raised more than $7,000 for German. Another fundraising campaign, from someone who identified themselves as the owner of the home outside of which the cat was rescued, raised almost $3,400 of its $2,400 goal. Meaning, all told, German earned more than $10,000 for his effort.
Apparently as a result of the backlash they got for this online, Verizon decided to respond. According to the carrier, it had made a donation to Pennsylvania Animal Rescue & Protection.