The company offered to rehire Maurice Rucker on Friday after taking “another look at this situation,” the mega store told the Huffington Post.
Rucker, 60, was the victim of racist abuse from a Donald Trump supporter on July 12 at a Home Depot in Albany, New York. Five days after the incident, Home Depot terminated him, citing a protocol violation, the Albany Times Union reported on Thursday.
While working in the store’s garden center, Rucker asked a white customer with a dog to leach his pet while in the store.
“You’re from the ghetto. What do you know?” the man said, sprinkling a few F-bombs in his rant that didn’t end there, Times Union reported. The customer added that Trump is the only reason that Rucker has a job because President Barack Obama didn’t know what he was doing—throwing in the lie that the former president was a Muslim.
“You’re lucky I’m at work, because if I wasn’t you wouldn’t be talking to me like this,” Rucker replied, asking the customer to leave the store.
Home Depot didn’t like how Rucker, who worked 10 years for the company, handled the situation. His boss told him that he should have contacted a manager.
“The problem here is that he had several opportunities to disengage and contact management to deal with the customer,” Home Depot said in a statement on Thursday to WNYT-TV. “We’re appalled by this customer’s behavior, but we also must require associates to follow proper protocol to defuse a situation for the sake of their safety and the safety of other associates and customers.”
But scores of people on social media called out the company’s harsh reaction, some of them threatening to boycott the chain.
@HomeDepot This is BS Home Depot. Maurice Rucker stood up@for his rights to a racist bigot. He should win an award, not lose his job! You should be ashamed. No more Home Depot for me! 👏👏👏Good Job Maurice.#SupportMauriceRucker#BoycottHomeDepot#ShameOnHomeDepot https://t.co/C83syyf3NX
After reading the story about @HomeDepot firing Maurice Rucker, i will now go to local stores or @Lowes if they don't have what i need. The man gave @HomeDepot a decade of his life and all he got was 78 cents in pay raises while I'm sure shareholders got new summer homes.
22. Scenes From The Demonstration Against Racism At Starbucks
The protest is growing outside the @Starbucks. The woman on the right in the red shirt is 90 years old and told a story about her father who died when she was 9 as a result of racial profiling and police brutality. pic.twitter.com/DxQb5OYtSG
Continue reading Activists Protest Racial Profiling, Arrests Of Black People In Starbucks
Activists Protest Racial Profiling, Arrests Of Black People In Starbucks
Black Lives Matter activists called for a boycott of the Starbucks coffee chain just days after an employee called the police to arrest two Black men inside a Philadelphia location were not buying anything and wouldn't leave. Despite a number of factors that should have convinced police to show discretion and restraint -- the men were not armed; they were not violent; they did not resist arrest; the White man who they were meeting yelled at the police that the men did nothing wrong; a bystander filmed the entire episode on video -- then men were still taken into custody Thursday.
The video has since gone viral.
The first of what is expected to be many protests took place April 14 at the Starbucks location in question.