A number of offenses can get you in trouble at work: slacking off, not being a team player, tardiness, and so on. It's understandable if you're reprimanded for committing one of these. But a Detroit paramedic is in hot water for what seems to have been an act of kindness -- giving a blanket to a man who was cold.
Two weeks ago, a house caught fire, and the elderly man who lived there was brought outside wearing only his underwear. Paramedic Jeff Gaglio gave him a blanket. Then on Tuesday, Gaglio was informed that the department was bringing him up on charges for his action. Jerald James, chief of the Emergency Medical Service (EMS), who is responsible for Gaglio's punishment, said in defense of the charges, "We can't have an employee who feels that they have a right to give away state property without getting prior approval." In fact, his department and the city of Detroit are strapped for cash. However, it has also been revealed that the department did not pay for the blanket. The one that Gaglio gave away had been donated.
Gaglio explained his frustration to his local Fox station. "I'm being punished for giving a man a blanket. Something that would seem like a common everyday courtesy. Something that any man or woman would do in the city of Detroit."
The city's EMS is battling several problems in relation to its lack of cash, including being understaffed and using out-of-date ambulances. According to the Detroit News, the department brings in $8 million less than its operating budget, due to the number of uninsured Detroit residents who are unable to pay for services rendered.
So far, there's no word on what Gaglio's punishment might be, but with increasing media attention, whatever the department decides will be scrutinized. Looks as if the old adage "No good deed goes unpunished" might ring true in this case.
[Related: Texas firefighters resuscitate dog]