Earlier this month, 41-year-old Robert Pattison went to introduce himself to his fellow firefighters at Engine 55 at Joy and Southfield in Detroit. Second Battalion Chief Shawn McCarty calls it a tradition for firefighters.
“It’s not mandatory, it’s voluntary,” he says. “You come in bearing gifts. The usual gift is doughnuts, but you are allowed to bring whatever you want to bring in.”
And Pattison, a probationary firefighter, decided to bring a watermelon wrapped in a pink ribbon. We’re told some African-American firefighters were instantly offended, since 90 percent of the people who work at Engine 55 are black . . .
FOX 2 spoke to Pattison by phone, who claims it was not a joke – and he did not mean to offend his fellow firefighters. But he clearly did. Fire Commissioner Eric Jones says the Fenton native was officially discharged.
In a statement Jones says: “There is zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior inside the Detroit Fire Department. On Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, at Engine 55, a trial firefighter (probationary employee) engaged in unsatisfactory work behavior which was deemed offensive and racially insensitive to members of the Detroit Fire Department. (Read more from “Firefighter Fired for Bringing Watermelon to Station – Here’s the Crazy Reason Why” HERE)