You may remember at the beginning of this week when we reported that Ryan Young, an employee in a Safeway in Monterey, California, stopped a man from beating his pregnant girlfriend, only to be fired from his job.
Well, now that media outrage, as well as some union arm twisting, has paid off. The Associated Press reports:
Safeway meat clerk Ryan Young has his job back and has become a bit of a celebrity after being suspended for trying to help a pregnant woman who was being kicked by her boyfriend.
When Young jumped from behind his counter to help the woman on April 21 he didn't know that he'd be suddenly jobless and be the focus of national attention at the same time.
Young was working a shift at the Del Rey Oaks, Calif., Safeway, when he saw the woman and her boyfriend arguing. When the man got physical with the woman, Young came to her defense, according to the statement he gave police.
After the brouhaha ended, Young's employer saw the incident on surveillance video and suspended Young without pay. Safeway cited its zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence.
Then a sea of support rose for Young, starting with his union, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5. They immediately challenged Young's suspension, but the company refused to budge for weeks—until Wednesday, when he was reinstated.
Young will return to work at a different Safeway store just as close to his home in Marina, said Ron Lind, a spokesman for the union.
"He'll be back to work as soon as possible," Lind said.
Meanwhile, word spread rapidly of Young's heroic actions after he appeared on national television. In response to his suspension, people began boycotting and picketing outside the northern California store in support of the
The Del Ray Oaks' police chief even jumped into the mix, commending Young's actions publicly.
Then Young's cause went viral. More than 180,000 people signed an online petition expressing outrage at Safeway's actions on Change.org, a website that allows people to engage in social advocacy.
"Knowing that I had all these people standing behind me and that I wasn't alone really helped me through this difficult time," he said in a statement through the website. "I'll be returning to work soon, and I'm ready to move forward."
Safeway reinstated Young with back pay. The decision came a day after union representatives and the company spoke.
"As we have said from the outset, Mr. Young's decision to intervene on behalf of one of our customers was commendable," Safeway said in a statement Wednesday.
"Whatever the circumstances, a physical confrontation between an employee and a customer is something we must take very seriously and examine very carefully. We appreciate the customers who took time to share their opinions about this incident, and we appreciate their patience as we completed the process."
The man charged in the woman's assault, Quyen Van Tran, was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to attend a 52-week domestic violence class after he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery on Friday, according to the Monterey Herald.