A Detroit firefighter was fired before he officially began his first day on the job for bringing a watermelon to work.
Robert Pattison, 41, introduced himself to his fellow firefighters at Engine 55 at the corner of Joy and Southfield in Detroit by bringing a welcome gift, WJBK reported.
Second Battalion Chief Shawn McCarty calls this welcome gift “a tradition” for Engine 55’s firefighters.
“It’s not mandatory, it’s voluntary,” he said. “You come in bearing gifts. The usual gift is doughnuts, but you are allowed to bring whatever you want to bring in.”
Pattison, who was a probationary firefighter, decided to stand out from the crowd and bring a watermelon with a pink bow on top.
Some black firefighters were reportedly offended by Pattison’s gesture since 90 percent of the firefighters at Engine 55 are black.
“When you get your first detail at a firehouse you pretty much know what you are getting yourself into,” said Patrick Trout. “So you would have to say it was probably a bad call.”
McCarty said that some people at the firehouse claim it is “racially insensitive” to bring a watermelon to a firehouse.
Pattison argued that he did not bring in the watermelon as a joke and had no intention of offending his colleagues.