Circle K Staffer Fired For Foiling Armed Robbery

Imagine you’re working at a Circle K (or any other store of its type) when a trio of wannabe robbers enter and begin waving a gun at you. What do you do? And more importantly, are you thinking about company policy or your own safety?

That was the situation facing a Pensacola, FL, man earlier this month, when his workday at the Circle K was interrupted by armed baddies, a man and two women.

“She starts yelling shoot him, shoot him!” the man tells Pensacola’s Fox 10 TV. “I grabbed her around the neck and slammed her on the ground and grabbed the gun in both my hands.”

The man says he knows of Circle K’s policy against provoking, chasing or engaging a robber, but explains that he didn’t really have a choice.

“I don’t care if it were a bigger person, smaller person or a child; if you have a gun in your face, if you’re struggling with somebody you’re going to bite, kick, scratch, pull,” he tells Fox 10. “You’re going do every dirty thing you can think of to save yourself.”

Regardless, once the folks at Circle K saw the video footage of the incident, they decided he needed to longer be employed by the chain.

A local police detective tells Fox 10: “I don’t recommend anybody to put your life in danger, but in my opinion this clerk had an opportunity. He obviously felt like he was in danger and he saw an opportunity to save himself.”

Sales Clerk fights back, gets fired: fox10tv.com

Sales Clerk fights back, gets fired [Fox10tv.com]

Thanks to Jerry for the tip!

Comments

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  1. Herbz says:

    I think once the robbers start saying “shoot him” any company policy goes out the window and if they fire you, you deserve to be able to sue to company.

    • tbax929 says:

      I agree. I think that is an extenuating circumstance. There’s a difference between someone pointing a gun at you and someone pointing one at you while a cohort is egging him/her on to shoot you with it.

      I hope someone sees the footage and offers the guy a job. I’d hire him if I could.

      • DariusC says:

        I am almost positive something very good will come out of this. 3 people with guns and nobody shot him, bravo at the amateur criminals and fast-acting worker. If he would have shot them, this story would have been no less awesome!

      • Kevin says:

        I disagree. Pointing a gun at someone would cause him to fear for his life. That by itself fully justifies retaliation.

    • PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

      Agreed. It seems that defending one’s self against being shot in the face in “provoking” an assailant?

      I’m not sue-happy, but I hope to hell he is able to sue. I mean, there has got to be something extenuating about having someone yelling “shoot him.”

      Instead of not having to deal with all that goes with having a dead employee, they have a hero working for them, who caught some robbers. But, instead, they decided to go the other way PR-wise.

    • MrEvil says:

      Definitely, too many store clerks have followed the company policy “Comply, comply, comply” only to eat a bullet as thanks.

  2. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    A lot of good a job will do you when you are dead.

    • Actionable Mango says:

      He’s not dead.

      He might be dead had he not resisted.

      • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

        My point is, if his options are “keep this job” or “keep this life”, then Circle K is insane if they think he’d go for the first option over the second.

    • Ihmhi says:

      This kind of sh…enanigans is the reason I don’t buy from Pizza Hut anymore. Never been to a Circle K in my life and I never will be now.

  3. FrugalFreak says:

    I’d do the same. Saving your life versus chasing after a robber are two different things.

    I won’t shop at Circle K when I go to Gulf Shores, AL any longer.

  4. The_IT_Crone says:

    I think the instant they have shown intent to kill you, they cease to be “robbers” and become “attempted murderers” so the policy shouldn’t apply.

    • Herbz says:

      Definitely agree.
      Hate scum like this. They deserve life sentences in jail.

    • ShruggingGalt says:

      I agree as well. Their attorneys must be following the company line of “If you resist, we must revoke your work permit”.

      Anyone have statistics on “resisting” injuries vs. dead employees?

      I know around here, 4 young girls died about 30 years ago at a retail store, and I remember a case in Colorado Springs where two c-store workers were executed after not resisting. (mid/late 1980s, I went there before and after the crime)

  5. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    “…they decided he needed to longer be employed by the chain.”

    You wwebsite as on the internet?

  6. PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

    Huh…strange things are afoot at the Circle K…

  7. Thyme for an edit button says:

    Ugh, Circle K, really? You fire your clerk for stopping a criminal from murdering him?

    So not getting snacks and drinks in your stores anymore.

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      Exactly. Now I know that Circle K doesn’t mind people shooting one another in their stores. In fact, Circle K policy promotes the success of armed robbers.

      • PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

        Well played, Clerks. Well played…

        • Twonkey says:

          You’re two for two. Well done! Though I’m kind of surprised that anyone actually watched that show. I thought that I was the only one…:P

  8. PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

    So…how long until Circle K comes around (thanks to bad press) and offers to rehire the guy?

    • Sparkstalker says:

      Hopefully he gets a better offer and tells them to eat a bullet.

    • cromartie says:

      They won’t. They’ll write him a nice quiet check for two years’ worth of salary and he’ll go away.

      From Circle K’s perspective, it’s a liability issue. If you give clerks free reign to haul off on someone who robs them, they become liable to be sued by the robber. Actuarial speaking, it’s cheaper to fire the guy and write him a check than to deal with the insurance hit of a lawsuit from a robber who was beaten to a pulp by a clerk, sad to say.

      • PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

        True.

        Man…I hate that line of thinking, where the robber can sue if he gets hurt. Worse, if one defends oneself, then you’re breaking company policy.

        I’d like to see him get some hush money out of this.

        • Markitect says:

          The robber won’t sue if he’s dead.

        • Kamaria says:

          I don’t really see how any court could even hear a case of a ROBBER suing from getting injured during a robbery. Once you threaten someone with a gun you deserve every last bit of reprisal you get. I don’t care if he trips and breaks his neck and is paralyzed for life, he’d still deserve it.

      • consumeristjohnny says:

        It is not only the robber. Realize that OTHER customers come int he store. The OUTCOME of this case was good, but let;s say he grabs one of the robbers, but the other two packing guns grab an innocent customer. Now Circle K has a HUGE problem on their hands. If the robbers had actually killed him because of him fighting, how would you feel about it then? I have not seen the video of the actual robbery, but there are a lot of things a company has to take into account in these situations. Statistically, c-store robbers do not murder people unless provoked or chased. If these were people hell bent on murdering him, he would have been shot before he even had a chance to subdue one of them

        • RvLeshrac says:

          Yeah, he should’ve sat quietly by while the robbers SHOT HIM IN THE FUCKING FACE. Because then, Circle K would’ve surely taken care of his family. Or done FUCK ALL while they tried to SCRAPE BY without his income.

        • Electric McButt says:

          I’ll just pull out my pocket almanac next time I need statistics on whether this is one of those bad-ass robbers or just a 2-bit chump.

  9. attackgypsy says:

    Odds are, he would have been fired anyways. Anytime a store gets robbed, the first one they look at is the employee. Happened to me when I was working for Cumberland Farms almost 30 years ago. I was 18 and it was a summer job before college started.

  10. tbax929 says:

    There was a story here in Tucson not long ago about a Circle K employee who thwarted a would-be robbery by shooting the robber. I don’t think the clerk was fired. Of course, the polciies may be a little different in gun-happy Arizona, where a lot of people (including myself) carry handguns.

    • zerogspacecow says:

      Yeah… Florida is pretty “gun-happy” too. Central Florida is about as “hick” as you can get. Plus, Pensacola might as well just be part of Southern Alabama.

      • Rommy says:

        I used to live in Pensacola when I was in the Navy, and we referred to it as “Alabama with a beach.”

      • Potted-Plant says:

        Actually, from Orlando on down the further south you go, the more Northeastern (culturally) you get until you hit Miami. I live in the Orlando area, and I know three people (other than myself) that were born and raised here. Everyone else is a transplant from out of state.

        Ocala on up is a different world culturally. Deep South mentality with all its benefits and drawbacks. I’m a Florida native and when I visit the northwestern part of the state I have to listen very closely because the accent is so different.

  11. Eagle Eye says:

    Where’s the tape of the robbery? I wonder if this tape had sound. Without sound, it would probably look like he just took a swing at a robber and the whole “shot him, shoot him!” part of the story wouldn’t be captured. I hope he gets his job back. Nobody should have to choose between their life and their job, EVER.

  12. oldwiz65 says:

    Circle K doesn’t care if employees are shot and killed; there are always plenty more willing to work for minimum wage. If the employee had been shot, then Circle K would have sent condolences to his family (if any), and picked the next name on the list of people who applied for jobs. Why do people think companies like Circle K care whether employees get shot on the job or not?

    • ShruggingGalt says:

      Not sure where you are, but in my town c-store clerks are getting 25% over min. wage…to start.

      Issues such as this plus working alone on some shifts are why.

  13. Suburban Idiot says:

    I remember very clearly watching the head of Herman’s Sporting Goods praising Justin Scott Marquart and Frederick Banzhaf for not resisting the three intruders robbing the Richardson, Texas store back in the 1992 because he would have hated firing such hard workers.

    But then he fired them anyway when they didn’t show up for work again after the robbery since they were dead and all.

    • The Lone Gunman says:

      Even more distressing: one of the robbers convicted in the slayings is STILL alive today on death row in Huntsville, over ten years after his conviction. His surviving partner (the third was shot and killed by police when he attempted to run over an officer) turned on him in exchange for a life sentence for his crimes.

      Unlike his 18-year-old victims, he gets free room and board and medical, probably has cable TV as well–all at taxpayer expense. He continues to cheat death by finding legal maneuvers to keep the courts staying his execution.

  14. Markitect says:

    Now robbers everywhere know they can safely rob Circle K stores without fear of employees opposing them. The new motto for consumers: Circle K? Stay away!

  15. FrugalFreak says:
  16. Markitect says:

    Everyone should write to Circle K and tell them what you think about this. Here is the link to contact them: http://www.circlekgulfcoast.com/whatelsedoyouneed.aspx

    • in-Albany says:

      done

    • ovalseven says:

      I did too. And I stole The_IT_Crone’s comment because I thought it summed it up nicely.

      “I am so glad that Eric Henderson chose to fight back after a robber gave the order to “Shoot him. Shoot him”. This otherwise would have been a very tragic story.

      I understand why your policy exists, but I think it no longer applies when the event turns from robbery to attempted murder. No clerk should just stand there and let someone shoot him just so he can save his job.”

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Done.

  17. dush says:

    Whether being fired or being fired upon, Circle K will get rid of their employees.

  18. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    “She starts yelling shoot him, shoot him!” the man tells Pensacola’s Fox 10 TV. “I grabbed her around the neck and slammed her on the ground and grabbed the gun in both my hands.”

    I have to give the man credit, he has far more restraint than I would have had.

  19. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    “…once the folks at Circle K saw the video footage of the incident, they decided he needed to longer be employed by the chain.”

    I just decided I no longer need to give my business to Circle K.

    Nice going, douche bags.

  20. in-Albany says:

    I emailed the company and let them know that I would not be shopping at any Circle-K because of this!

  21. Overshoot says:

    Try Google’ing Circle K robbery
    and see all the stories about what these clerks put up with.

    Then watch the following video and see what happens when the clerks don’t resist. Doomed if you do, doomed if you don’t. I’m glad this guy survived and I hope someone hires him.
    http://youtu.be/NkAnH2Y7_4I

    • Markitect says:

      Knowing that other Circle K employees have been murdered like this, I cannot understand how they could have fired this latest employee. What a shameful position this company has taken. If I had to work in a convenience store, you can bet I’d be packing heat and an armed robber would get what he’s got coming to him.

  22. framitz says:

    Fired for self defense? B.S.

  23. pot_roast says:

    I hope this brave soul find himself with more gainful employment.. with better hours and fewer criminals.

  24. JiminyChristmas says:

    We’re gonna be like three little Fonzies here. And what’s Fonzie like? Come on Yolanda what’s Fonzie like?

  25. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Lesson learned. Next time you save your own life remember to erase the tape.

  26. Lyn Torden says:

    He should sue them. There are plenty of lawyers around that would live to take this case.

  27. The Lone Gunman says:

    Sadly, he probably will not be able to get unemployment after this because of the rules THERE, as well.

  28. ancientone567 says:

    This may sound creepy but many companies have life insurance policies out on their employees. They would profit greatly from this guys death. So if that is the case, the policy should be if being robbed stand their like a little lamb for the slaughter so we can cash in on your death. BOYCOTT THE CIRCLE K!!!!!

    • Not Given says:

      They probably have the insurance because they know they will be sued by the family of the clerk. They don’t have insurance on the robbers so they don’t want anything to happen to them in their store because they know they will be sued by the robbers families.

      I say, “Better to be judged by 12 than carried by six.”

  29. Shadowfire says:

    Let them know what you think:
    http://circlek.com/CircleK/ContactUs.htm

  30. madderhatter says:

    Thanks for posting this up, Chris ! It’s these types of incidents related to guns that the media gets hush-hush about. The type where the good guy comes out on top.

  31. Jimbo says:

    He probably has a good argument for a major lawsuit as everyone has unalienable rights that they are guaranteed by law and a person cannot sign away those rights; and even if they do agree to it, the contract is not valid. Their policy forbidding you do defend yourself under attack is unconscionable.

    You DO have a right to LIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS and no one can ever take that away other than the IRS…… ;-)

  32. Fixxer says:

    As a middle management type for a convenience store company (not Circle K), I understand why companies have this policy in place. Typically, robbers want the money in the register and want to get in and out quickly. It is when clerks resist and try and thwart the robbery that they end up getting hurt generally. We train the clerks to keep their money in the drawer low (under $30 at night) and give the robbers what they want. Contrary to some comments thinking otherwise, the safety of the people working in the stores is the first priority. Over the years, I have received many calls in the middle of the night saying a particular store had been robbed, someone getting hurt or worse is a call I never, ever want to get.

    The only question is whether they started yelling this AFTER he tried to resist; the video and the article don’t seem to indicate either way. If so, then I agree with Circle K’s decision, since the robbers probably would have left with the money had he not confronted them. That being said, some robbers are just crazy and if these women were yelling “shoot, shoot” and were never provoked, then he had to prevent that from happening. His life is more important than the job.

    I am not a fan of “zero tolerance”, no exception policies. I do believe all the facts need to be considered and decisions be made on a case-by-case basis. Whether Circle K did this, we don’t really know for sure, since we don’t know what happened before he thwarted the robbery.

  33. ibBevis says:

    Time to boycott CircleK and show them their customers don’t agree with there decision.

  34. Lucky225 says:

    All I have to say is I’d rather be fired from employment then fired at by a gun barrel.

  35. bben says:

    I worked in a 24 hour convenience store for 2 years. It was in a rough part of town. The owner’s policy was, If robbed, give them what they want to avoid injury. But if you get the chance or feel your life is in danger – there is a 9mm under the counter and a shotgun in the office. We were never robbed while he owned that store. I pulled the 9mm once in those 2 years – to break up a knife fight between customers that started inside the store.

    One of our graveyard shift clerks was a part time cop. He broke a man’s arm that threatened him with a broken bottle when he was stopped while trying to steal a six pack of beer. The owner rewarded him with a paid day off and posted the newspaper article in the store.

  36. maruawe says:

    He should sue Circle K for firing him ,when he was trying to defend himself form being shot..and getting shot hurts I don’t blame him—– He was not trying to stop a robbery but trying to keep from getting killed.

  37. nikalseyn says:

    I think the company did him a favour. He is obviously much smarter and has more common sense than anyone at Circle K. I wish him well. I suspect he will do much better with his life NOT working for a company like Circle K. I wish him well—and, you done good!!

  38. Robert Nagel says:

    Florida is an “at will” state. You can be fired at any time for any reason except those specifically carved out by law. Things such as race, creed, national origin, religion, etc. However, an unreasonable termination, and this seems to be one, will result in the employer having to pay unemployment. In addition jobs for this type of work are freely available so he really didn’t lose anything and he gained a story to tell his grand kids. Kids he will have an opportunity to have since he didn’t follow company policy.

  39. mcshaggin says:

    Well damn, I know who to rob if I fall on hard times. They must be libs and probably won’t allow clerks to arm themselves. I see a sitting duck with a big circle on it. Good for the clerk, he should have taken the gun and pistol whipped all three of them until the police arrived.

  40. AntiNeutral says:

    I was working at a convenience store in Louisiana many years ago & was robbed at gunpoint. I was doing the nightly accounting in a side room when a lone male entered & put a gun in my face & told me to get on the ground & don’t move or he would kill me. I did as he told me to do but admit to some terrorizing moments wondering if he might not shoot anyway as I lay prone on the ground. I was lucky because he just took the $1300 in cash & ran away. But as the police failed to find the guy and my superiors questioned why I did not crawl several yards to push the silent alarm button I can tell you what happened afterwards was surreal. First, I was robbed at 11pm and was back at work at 7am the next day, ever suspicious and still nervous. Then, the police tried to suggest that I had something to do with it because I could only give them a vague description of the black male robber. But I was most disgusted by the general insensitivity to what I had been through and the ridiculous suggestions of what I SHOULD have done. I had never been trained, was scared for my life and people say, “you should have done this” or “I would have done that”. Let me tell you. When the gun is in YOUR face, you have one thought on your mind; self preservation. I appalled by Circle K’s insensitivity towards their own employee’s life-threatening situation. I will avoid them in the future. And remember; you DON’T know what you will do until it happens to you. Money can be replaced and everyone is an expert about what you should have done. I applaud the employee and hope that some other company will recognize his quick thinking and fast actions.

  41. Shrouded says:

    “once the folks at Circle K saw the video footage of the incident, they decided he needed to longer be employed by the chain.”

    But they fired him anyway?
    :p

  42. Shrouded says:

    “once the folks at Circle K saw the video footage of the incident, they decided he needed to longer be employed by the chain.”

    But they fired him anyway?
    :p

  43. Shrouded says:

    “once the folks at Circle K saw the video footage of the incident, they decided he needed to longer be employed by the chain.”

    But they fired him anyway?
    :p

  44. Shrouded says:

    “once the folks at Circle K saw the video footage of the incident, they decided he needed to longer be employed by the chain.”

    But they fired him anyway?
    :p

  45. Shrouded says:

    “once the folks at Circle K saw the video footage of the incident, they decided he needed to longer be employed by the chain.”

    But they fired him anyway?
    :p

  46. nocturnaljames says:

    What a miserable employee. Company policy states you are supposed to stand there cooperative and get shot dead.

  47. rambo76098 says:

    Brilliant move Circle K:
    Because the wrongful death lawsuit from the employee’s family would have been so much cheaper…