Overreaction or Justified? A Detroit Fireman Fired For Bringing Watermelon As Gift.

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A gesture of good will, according to 41 year old Robert Pattison got him discharged, as the Fentive native was fired before he officially started on the job. Pattison, who had just completed the firefighting training academy and was set to work at a Detroit fire-station brought a gigantic watermelon with a pink ribbon on top of it as a gesture. Unfortunately, the gesture backfired, as his voluntary gift offended his colleagues. Ninety percent of the people that work at the Engine 55 Detroit fire-station are African-American and were instantaneously irritated. The probationary firefighter told the news that it was not meant to be insulting and was done in good will. Firefighter commissioner, Eric Jones, continued to nod the decision, saying it was offensive and racially insensitive: “After a thorough investigation, it was determined that the best course of action was to terminate the employment of this probationary employee.” Did the Detroit Fire Department go overboard? With racial tensions being at a high, is there an excuse to be racially oblivious? Should he have been reprimanded without being discharged? How should this have been handled?