Ironically, I’m not even referring to the retarded guy in this story:
Kyle Dowie, 43, was fired from his job at an Iowa supermarket over cashing 20 cents of bottle deposits that were left behind by customers. After a complaint was filed with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission on behalf of Dowie alleged discrimination based on his disability, he is weighing an offer to return to his job.
Dowie, who is mentally disabled, worked for 25 years at the Hy-Vee supermarket in Urbandale, seven miles west of Des Moines. On Nov. 2, after recycling $3.75 worth of bottles from home through the store's recycling machine, his mother said he tried to redeem 20 cents worth of credit slips dated in September that may have been left by customers.
Three things stand out. First, what sort of employer doesn’t expect a veritable typhoon of fecal matter for firing a retarded guy for maybe stealing twenty cents worth of credit slips? Seriously, even if the government is not involved, the press still is, as well as the internet, so the moment the “mentally challenged” guy decides to tell his story is the moment that Hy-Vee is completely and totally screwed.
Second, how in the world does Hy-Vee consider the attempt to redeem four-month-old coupons theft? They are most likely abandoned property, which means that whoever takes possession of them becomes the new rightful owner. This, incidentally, is a well-established component of common law, so you would have to have an incredibly stupid lawyer tell you that it’s a good idea to fire someone who probably has a decent legal right to redeeming the credit slips.
Third, twenty cents of credit slips?! Seriously?! And it’s not even provably theft (at least in light of the known information). It would be one thing if he were smuggling change from the till. But it’s completely different when he’s basically picking up something someone left behind. And if the person who lost the credit slips wanted them back, wouldn’t he or she ask for them at some point sooner than 4+ months after they went missing? And if they mean so much, just reissue the slips to the rightful owners and dock the retarded guy’s pay twenty cents. Problem solved.
Now, there’s undoubtedly more to the story than the press is reporting—the fourth estate isn’t omniscient, after all. But given how stupidly the management at Hy-Vee has behaved, you really have to question if the press identified the retarded person correctly.