“Really, bro, you got to resort to this?”
Those were a few of Santino Burrola’s last words on social media before his life was ruined.
Over 1.5 million people, including rapper Snoop Dogg, saw what he did. He’d lose his job, receive racist comments, fall behind on his bills and be separated from his family for what he did.
A Crime in Progress
“Me and the union rep sat down with them and they recommended termination,” recalled Santino Burrola to the New York Post. ‘They’ were supermarket King Soops, and they just fired him.
Never mind that what he did brought a criminal to justice, with two at large. Yet, whenever he talks about it, Burrola says that his motivation is just.
“Let me tell you something; if something is happening right in front of me, I’m gonna make it my business,” he said.
And that’s exactly what he did when he saw three men bolting through the King Soops parking lot. They had stolen over $500 worth detergent. At that moment, Burrola, a former military police officer, gave chase as they ran to load it into a black Chevy Trax.
Shortly after, Burrola reached into his pocket and made his biggest mistake.
A Grocery Store Worker Goes From Hero to Zero
Flipping out his phone, Burrola began recording the three thieves. “Really, bro, you got to resort to this? The economy isn’t that bad,” he can be heard saying.
“Better gettin’ while the gettin’s good,” he joked to them as they loaded the car.
The quick-thinking Burrola managed to yank a sheet of foil covering the license plate to get the number, leading to the driver’s capture.
If you think his brave act got him a thank you, you’d be wrong. Instead, after arriving at work the next day, Burrola learned that he’d been suspended. Then, just a week later, he was fired.
As the video and news of his firing spread online, outrage bubbled.
“This is absolutely disgusting. We should be boycotting the retailer that fired him,” fumed one.
“Sorry to read you were fired recording these losers thinking they could just go in and steal. Good for you though,” wrote one.
Another one had an idea.
“This guy was doing the right thing. Please someone give him a much better job. He deserves our thanks and to be rewarded. Our Vets deserve a leg up for their sacrifices.”
One warm reward, coming right up.
A Community Rewards a Brave Employee
Someone who agrees with that comment is Alexia Gomez. With the motivation to help her cousin, she started a GoFundMe to help cover his legal fees and lost wages.
In the end, it was a huge success raising over $19,000, almost double its goal of $10,000. Now that’s a lot of laundry detergent money.
In a prepared statement, King Soops said firing Burrola is all about employee safety.
“We are disappointed by the increased level of crime across retail establishments and the impact these incidents have on our associates and customers. We remain committed to working in partnership with local law enforcement to address this issue, as safety remains a top priority,” it read.
How a Supermarket Employee Proves That Inaction Is a Crime
To be fair, it’s hard to argue with a company trying to protect its workers. After all, if one of those criminals were armed, Gomez might be raising money for her cousin’s funeral costs instead.
Yet, Burrola would tell you that the biggest crime would be to sit idly by as criminals run wild. He knows that staying safe puts everyone at risk.
It might not always be the safest play, but sometimes displaying courage is the right move.
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