Disabled Veteran Fired from Lafayette Academy Store After Being Punched by Irate Customer
An Academy Sports + Outdoors employee at the center of a recent viral video has been terminated.
Back on January 10, we shared the story surrounding a video from a Lafayette Academy store where an employee was punched by an irate customer. Now, we're learning more about what happened after the cameras stopped rolling.
According to a source close to the situation, the female employee that we see in the video was an employee of Academy Sports + Outdoors for nearly 10 years at many locations in three different states. She is a disabled veteran who has worked at numerous locations in three different states after being medically discharged from the Army after a shoulder injury.
Here in Lafayette, she was a manager at the Academy on Ambassador Caffery. Apparently, the video clip we saw only showed the end of a situation that reportedly started with a commotion near the front door when a greeter saw women with a full buggy of merchandise headed toward the front door.
Like many retail locations, theft is an issue that Academy has to deal with on a regular basis and the Ambassador Caffery location is no exception. Thieves in the area know the protocol is for store associates to allow them to walk right out of the front door with the merchandise.
As a team leader, she responded to the situation as the rage allegedly began to escalate with a customer who was "getting loud" near the front door. She asked the irate customer to leave when the woman allegedly tried to push the shopping cart into her. The customer continued to get violent, attempting to hit the manager according to eyewitnesses who saw the situation unfold.
In her fit of rage, the customer then pulled a large bag out from underneath a clothing display (which is around the time when the video opens up) and swung it toward the manager. After almost being hit by the bag, the manager grabbed it in an attempt to defend herself and ultimately ended up getting punched by the customer.
Eventually, the women did leave the store, while the manager was left with a mouth full of blood and a sore jaw. She reported the incident to her supervisor and the police and a week later, she was terminated over the incident.
While our source tells me that she fully understands the rules in place and that any bad publicity for a business will lead to them finding a way to remove you, the toughest part for the former Academy manager to live with is that she feels that she remained calm and professional until she was forced to defend herself.
It was also a hard pill to swallow being that she was let go for breaking policy when other employees break policy and aren't always terminated for it.
After hearing her story, I thought about all the comments on her original story where others mentioned they also worked in retail and spoke about the policies in place when it came to shoplifters and those who cause drama in stores. Blanket policies don't always align with what's right and wrong and they definitely aren't always fair.
While this situation (and other situations like it) is unfortunate, I can only hope that this woman lands on her feet. Especially with the stigma that sometimes labels disabled veterans as "screwed up and hostile," I feel like she displayed a lot more calmness and professionalism than many of us would had we been put in the same situation.
While doing what's "right" doesn't always line up with policy, the fact is this woman got rocked in the jaw, left with a bloody mouth, and ultimately lost her job as a result of someone who wasn't exactly behaving like a model citizen.
What's worse, is that the person who punched the former Academy manager still hasn't been identified and probably won't see any type of punishment for her behavior.
From what I've gathered from speaking with my source is that this veteran is the type of person who doesn't like being recognized and would never look for any type of attention, but there's something to be said for folks who aim to be the better person, take care of others, and simply do the right thing.
To that disabled veteran who lost her job of nearly 10 years: I don't know you, but I'm wishing you the best of luck. Thank you for being a decent human being and thank you for your service.