Gaylord Meijer Greeter Fired For Helping Customer Put Out Car Fire

David Bowers says he “bled Meijer blue,” and planned to be a greeter many more years at the superstore. He worked for the Gaylord Meijer in Otsego County for more than 4 years.

Last month, Bowers was at his greeting position when a customer ran back inside asking for a fire extinguisher. Kenneth Kuzon's van caught fire, and Bowers immediately grabbed the closest extinguisher to help.

He says he knew there were list of procedures he should have followed, but in the midst of the fire, he just didn't think; he executed.

Bowers returned to his position once the fire was put out. He was then told by management that he was suspended until further notice. His records show that his job was terminated that day.

Bowers and his wife Mary Lynn say it has been a sad few weeks. Mary Lynn said, “He loved going to work. He loved his job, and he loved Meijer.”

Bowers says “It's what I think about when I open my eyes in the morning. I have no job to go to. When I go to bed at night it's the last thing I think about.”

Mary Lynn says what set them over the edge was a “Happy Holidays” card that Meijer sent after his job was terminated. She says she realized it was time to share David's story, and let people hear what he is going through.

Bowers did admit this isn't the first time he got in trouble with the company. One time he chased after a shoplifter, which resulted in a few days off, but did not cost him his job.

9&10 News reached out to Meijer and they responded:

“We appreciate and understand the passionate response from many people to the recent issue in Gaylord. Please be assured that this was not a random decision. We have well-established safety procedures for emergency situations and we train all team members on those procedures. These procedures help ensure the safety of everyone – both customers and team members, and our team members know there are consequences when they don't follow this particular case, we feel we have to respect the privacy of the team member and therefore cannot get into the details which led us to this point.”

Bowers tells 9&10 News, “I wish it never happened. I just wanted to be Dave the greeter.”

9&10's Alyssa Gambla and photojournalist Erin Malone spoke to the family to find out more.