When a grocery store worker saw a man running off with an elderly woman’s purse, he chased down the thief, tackled him, and called the police. Despite being hailed a hero, the young clerk discovered that he had been fired.
Even though he’s just 20 years old, Amir Shedyak has made a name for himself in Essex, Vermont. He is a model citizen and hometown hero. Not only is he a part-time volunteer firefighter at the local station, but he also has the skill and penchant for thwarting petty crimes against the town’s most vulnerable residents.
Having worked at Hannaford grocery store for over 4 years, Shedyak has done his best to showcase his diligence, honesty, and reliability. In fact, he was awarded Employee of the Month for “covering shifts when needed, and going above and beyond to help customers in any way possible.” Unfortunately, it was the latter character quality that resulted in his sudden termination.
Just after clocking in for his shift, Shedyak was approached by a fellow employee, who told him that an elderly customer’s purse had just been stolen. Without hesitation, he sprinted outside to see if he could spot the alleged thief, he told WCAX.
“And he was like – an old lady’s purse just got stolen,” Shedyak recalled. The part-time volunteer firefighter says his immediate reaction was to jump in and help. “I look to my right and I see a gentleman running across the parking lot and he had the purse in his hand.”
In an instant, Shedyak was in hot pursuit of the purse snatcher. Incredibly, the young man managed to catch up to the fleeing thief, tackling him from behind and wrestling him to the ground. However, the suspect managed to escape while Shedyak dialed 911.
Police announced soon after that they had detained the accused purse thief, 29-year-old Adrian Moore, and charged him with larceny. Expectedly, the elderly victim was exceedingly grateful.
“She was trying to offer me money. ‘I don’t want your money, just wanted to help you out, do what’s right,’” he recalled.
Despite receiving praise for his selfless actions, not everyone was thrilled about Shedyak’s performance. When he arrived for his shift a few days later, he discovered that he had been removed from the schedule and was fired immediately.
Although Hannaford refused to comment on the incident, a local lawyer explained that the store may have been concerned about its own liability.
“It is not uncommon at all for employers to discourage employees from laying hands on customers,” said Pietro Lynn, a local attorney who is not involved in the case. He says it makes sense for a company like Hannaford to not want their employees interfering because an injury of the employee, customer, or other liability issues can be expensive. “There are many cases in Vermont where employers are held responsible for the wrongful acts of their employees,” Lynn said.
Of course, Shedyak disagrees with the store’s policy. He explained that if he sees someone being victimized, he’s going to take action.
“Why should it make a difference that, hey, I’m clocked in now — he’s in trouble. If I wasn’t clocked in — oh, you did a good job,” he said.
Shedyak has since received overwhelming adulation for his bravery as well as a new job. He is determined to continue standing up to thieves and criminals, even if it puts him out of work.
Luckily, Shedyak continues to serve as a volunteer firefighter, where his heroism and disregard for his own safety above that of others is not only welcomed but necessary.