PORTLAND, Ore. - A U.S. Bank employee was reportedly fired for giving a stranded customer gas money on Christmas Eve.
Emily James told The Oregonian she was dismissed from her role as a senior banker at a U.S. Bank call center in Portland, Ore. after she gave a customer who was broke and stranded $20 of her own money.
On Dec. 23, James said she spent over an hour trying to assist Marc Eugenio, a bank customer whose first paycheck from a new job was placed on hold.
She advised Eugenio to go to his local branch in Clackamas, Oregon, the next day — Christmas Eve — to ask the branch manager to verify the funds from the issuing bank. However, Eugenio said the manager was out on vacation and the other bank employees weren’t very helpful.
"(The woman at the bank) said, ‘My hands are tied, I can’t do anything,’" Eugenio told The Oregonian.
Eugenio left the bank and called the 800 customer service line again to speak with James. He told her he was at a gas station about 30 minutes away from the call center where James worked.
"I said, ‘I wish I had just $20 bucks to get home,’" Eugenio recalled. "And she said ‘Wait, hold on.’"
James asked her supervisor for permission to drive to the gas station and give Eugenio some money to get home.
"I handed him $20 in cash, said ‘Merry Christmas’ and went right back to work," she said.
On New Year’s Eve, James said she was fired by the bank’s regional service manager for her "unauthorized interaction with a customer."
"She said, ‘We’re sorry, we cannot keep your employment,'" James said.
The supervisor who allowed James to leave work to assist Eugenio was also reportedly fired.
Eugenio told The Oregonian his paycheck was cleared several days after Christmas and called James’ firing "ridiculous."
"I was a customer of U.S. Bank, I needed help, and she went above and beyond," Eugenio said. "I felt so bad. She was the only one helping me."
James initially shared the news about her dismissal from U.S. Bank in hopes of getting her job back. Now, she says she’s unsure if she’d want to work for the company again.
"I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t help someone if you had the ability to," James said. "It’s Christmas Eve, it’s already a rough time for people, and you’re going to leave someone stranded?"