“No good deed goes unpunished.” This is certainly something on the mind of Verizon worker Maurice German. He was approached by locals in Port Richmond, Philadelphia on Saturday morning, March 16th, with a unique problem. One of the residents cats had gotten outside and found itself at the top of a very high utility pole. The would-be rescuers had contacted the fire department, animal rescue groups and the phone company. They didn’t receive any responses back or offers to assist. So when Maurice was spotted by the animal lovers, they pleaded for his help. With his Verizon boom lift, he was easily able to reach the stranded feline and bring it to safety.
Now, he’s been suspended by Verizon for 3 weeks without pay for his actions.
Princess “Momma” is the feline at the center of all the chaos. She had scaled the pole around 10:30 pm on Friday night. Numerous neighbors had joined the rescue efforts but had no way to reach her perch. They attempted to get her down unsuccessfully until 1:30 am before having to concede.
When Maurice arrived on the scene, Princess Momma had been stuck on the pole for about 12 hours!
As crowds gathered around the commotion, they held their breath as Maurice approached the terrified cat. He was worried the cat would try to flee and fall so he slowly inched closer to her. Luckily he was able to grab her as the crowds cheered below, filming the entire rescue effort.
She was hungry but otherwise unaffected by the evenings events. Her appreciative owner happily ushered her indoors for some attention and tasty food. What no one would expect, was that this was the beginning of serious trouble for her hero, Maurice.
— Steve Lindsay CBS (@SteveLindsayCBS) March 23, 2019
When Verizon learned of the rescue, they informed the shocked Maurice that he would be receiving a suspension.
His 15 day suspension was because their “vehicles and equipment were not intended to be used in the area where he operated”.
According to Rich Young, a spokesperson for Verizon, this is why their actions are just.
We take no joy in this job action. However, we’re committed and responsible for keeping our employees and customers safe while working in a particular area. While our actions may not be popular, it’s in the best interest of our employees and the communities we serve.
Unfortunately, while this employee’s goal was admirable, he potentially put his life and those around him in jeopardy.
Verizon state they will be making a donation to the Pennsylvania SPCA in Fishton to support animal rescue efforts. One person brought up a valid point though…(Note: we have NO confirmation they were contacted).
The SPCA that couldn’t save the cat and the reason he had to help?
But when co-workers and the public learned of the suspension, they clearly let their thoughts on the matter be heard–in opposition or support.
Technically he put himself in grave danger if what they are saying is true about an “electric box” meaning transformer, meaning energized equipment. Verizon buckets are not insulated so he could have been electrocuted just by maneuvering his bucket within proximity.
Those who work in the same field–in this case, HIS co-workers, were able to give a clear explanation of the type of pole in question.
There is only secondary electric on that pole. As Maurice’s co worker, our procedure is to avoid contact. This is one of the safer poles we are trained to work on.
The more the news spread, so did the blame.
I understand everyone is mad at Verizon…but I think you should be PO’d at the power company too. They have the insulated bucket trucks and could have stepped in. I’m sure they got calls about the cat long before Maurice stepped up and did what needed to be done.
What of Maurice though–assigning blame wouldn’t help pay his bills.
Two different GoFundMe fundraisers were started by others to help Maurice compensate for his lost wages.
Amanda Fairchild Boyce was onsite during the entire operation and witnessed it firsthand.
Last weekend a Verizon employee came to the rescue of a cat (Princess “Momma”) outside of my home stuck on top of the telephone pole for 12 hrs. After numerous attempts to find support, no one could help. That’s until Maurice German and his team showed up! This generous man is now being punished! Maurice is being suspend from his job for saving an animal. Let’s support Maurice for his good deed while his employer punishes him!
In two days time, her page raised $3,395 for Maurice. The original goal was only $2,400!
At the same time, Maurice’s co-worker Keith Morales started another fundraiser for him, knowing firsthand what he was going through.
Maurice German is a Verizon employee who performed an random act of kindness by saving a cat stuck atop a utility pole while on the job for Verizon. Verizon suspended Maurice for 15 days for putting himself and the public at risk for his actions. This is completely Verizon’s prerogative as they are the owners of the vehicle that Maurice used to rescue the cat. However, I’m sure Maurice thoughts were pure when he made the decision to rescue the cat. And that is why I’ve decided to start this Go Fund Me page. Maurice will forgo 3 weeks pay for simply being a human being looking to help one of our 4 legged friends.
By the time Keith closed the fundraiser today, he’d bypassed his original goal of $4,650. His total raised was a whopping $7,210!
That included a generous donation from another co-worker.
$50 donation – from: Embarrassed Verizon worker
If I were Maurice, I’d take a nice vacation and maybe spend some of my temporary free time saving more community cats!