Nigel Haskett, a McDonald's employee, is a hero.
From the Arkansas Times:
Haskett was working at the McDonald's at 10201 Rodney Parham Road last August when he interceded to stop a man who was beating a woman in the restaurant. The assailant, later identified as Perry Kennon, went outside. Haskett also stepped outside and stood at the door to keep Kennon from re-entering the restaurant. Kennon retrieved a gun from his car and shot Haskett – “multiple times,” according to [Haskett's lawyer, Philip M.] Wilson. Haskett, now 22, underwent three abdominal surgeries and still carries part of a bullet in his back, according to Wilson. Haskett's medical bills exceed $300,000, Wilson said.
Kennon was arrested a few days after the shooting and charged with first-degree battery. At his arraignment, where he pleaded innocent, District Judge Lee Munson lectured Kennon about his long criminal record, and lauded Haskett: “Here is this young man working for minimum wage, coming to the aid of a woman.” Munson passed the case on to Pulaski Circuit Court, and he and his court reporter each contributed $100 to a fund for Haskett that was set up by Twin City Bank.
What Haskett did was incredibly courageous.
He came to the aid of a customer, putting himself in danger. By preventing Kennon from reentering the McDonald's, Haskett was also protecting everyone else in the restaurant, customers and employees alike.
It was a selfless, heroic act.
Thank God he survived his injuries.
...Haskett filed a claim with the state Workers Compensation Commission. Misty Thompson, a claims specialist with McDonald's insurer, Ramsey, Krug, Farrell and Lensing, said in a letter to the Commission that “we have denied this claim in its entirety as it is our opinion that Mr. Haskett's injuries did not arise out of or within the course and scope of his employment.”
The Times sought elaboration, but a McDonald's spokesman said the company couldn't provide it at present. The owner-operator of the restaurant where the incident occurred can't talk about it because the case is pending in court, she said.
Wilson wrote in a letter to the Times:
“McDonald's position now is that during thirty-minute orientation Mr. Haskett and the other individuals going through the orientation were supposedly told that in the event of a robbery or anything like a robbery . . . not to be a hero and simply call 911. Mr. Haskett denies that anything like that was even mentioned during orientation or at any time during his employment with McDonald's.”
Here's more, from KARK 4 News:
After fighting for his life in the hospital, McDonald’s employee Nigel Haskett may now be fighting for reimbursement of his nearly $300,000 worth medical bills.
On surveillance tape of the day of the incident, a man apparently slaps a woman in the face. With seconds Haskett tackles him. Seconds after Haskett re-enters the store and then collapses. Police say he was shot multiple times.
McDonald's surveillance video here.
Although the insurance agency has denied Haskett's claim, the franchise owner of that McDonald's says to remember that the matter is still pending.
The owner writes:
"We are all grateful to Nigel and that's why it is so unfortunate that he's having a difficult time with the insurance claim…however, the fact of the matter is that I do not have control over whether my employee's claim is paid by Worker's Compensation. It is my understanding that there has not been a final determination by the Arkansas Worker's Compensation Commission. I am taking this very seriously, and doing what I can to help and I hope his claim will come to a quick resolution and the right thing will be done for my employee."
Clearly, the franchise owner supports Haskett.
...Haskett's attorney says he's entitled to the money, and will fight the insurance company for it in court.
"They do everything they can not to pay a client. That's what we have here. They just try to get out of paying any way they can," said Haskett’s attorney Philip Wilson.
There is a process to filing this claim and only the first part has been denied. The case will now go before a judge, then possibly the worker's comp commission. It could even be appealed to the Supreme Court.
This is a PR nightmare for McDonald's.
Paying $300,000 to cover Haskett's medical expenses is a pittance compared to the damage done by tons of bad press.
McDonald's claims that employees are instructed NOT to be heroes in the event of a robbery or potentially violent situation and to call 911. Haskett claims he never received instruction on that.
Now, I'm assuming that Haskett was aiding a stranger, and that as an employee, he was assisting a customer and protecting everyone else in the restaurant.
If this were some sort of personal matter, and Haskett knew the people involved, I would likely take a different stand. Then, it could be argued that Haskett just happened to be at work when he was settling a personal matter. That doesn't appear to be the case.
The fact is Haskett may have saved a customer's life. His quick intervention, not waiting until authorities arrived, may have made the difference. He put himself at risk to protect others. That's service above and beyond what any McDonald's customer could expect.
Haskett is a hero. McDonald's should treat him like one. The first step should be paying his medical bills.
What Haskett did speaks to the quality of his character. McDonald's should be praising him rather than abandoning him.
McDonald's touts "What we're made of" in its latest advertising campaign.
If this is the way McDonald's treats a hero, they're not made of the right stuff.
McDonald's, I'm not lovin' it.