Almost getting fired for asking a girl out.
|Life gives us all incidents that stick with us forever. The older we get, the more we ponder over some of those memories. Some make us wiser and some cause us to harden our inner character. This is one that I knew wasn't a fair situation at the time, but turned out good for me in the end.
Once upon a time I was 21, single, very handsome, and a cop with the Austin Police Department. I had just completed my rookie probation period when they finally put me on the street alone and inside a brand new patrol car. I did the 12a - 9a shift Tuesday through Sunday. During the daylight hours I attended college full-time. There wasn't much time in my life those days for building a relationship and dating was not easy to find time for. Other than girls I met rushing from class to class, or while issuing a speeding ticket, there was little opportunity to break the ice with someone to ask out.
Then there was Megan. She started her shift an hour before I would get off work M-F as a clerk in the finger-printing department. Megan was my age, single, and as pretty of a blond God could make. I would see her briefly at least twice a week when I turned my paperwork in at the end of my shift. She was always friendly to me and had the most beautiful smile one could imagine. Just to look into her sparkling blue eyes would make my knees go mushy under me.
Finally, my Sargent gave me a Saturday night off because my car was needed elsewhere. I ran into Megan the morning before and got the courage to ask her out for dinner. She acted so disappointed because she had planned a weekend trip to visit her mother up state. I smiled and told her maybe some other time. She said she would look forward to that time.
About a week later I asked Megan out once again. This time she simply told me she couldn't and gave me no excuse. I decided then she must have had a boyfriend or I just wasn't her type, so I gave up on the idea of asking her out again. The very next day my captain called me into his office at the beginning of my shift. He said Megan had reported me for sexual harassment and that he was suspending me indefinitely. There was no discussion allowed and he threw me out of his office as I was trying to explain myself. I had violated no rules of any kind. Asking a single girl out at work was not a violation of our ethics rules, and what I did was not sexual harassment.
That same day I went to see Chief Miles and told him of the situation. He could not believe I was suspended for simply asking Megan out. He knew of her and said if he was young and single like me, he too would ask her out. He told me to be patient while he checked into my suspension. Two days later I was called into his office. The head of HR was there waiting when I arrived. They sat me down and said my suspension was revoked and I was to report for duty on my next shift. They would not tell me what had transpired in the investigation.
When I got off my next shift, word was out that my captain had been terminated, but no one knew why. Later I found out that Megan had also been fired. Weeks passed when we all heard the captain's wife had filed for divorce and he was kicked out of his house. The truth finally got out that my captain and Megan were involved with each other and had been for months. When chief Miles discovered it in his investigation he fired the captain for suspending me without proper cause. He obviously did it out of jealousy for me hitting on his precious snatch. Megan was fired for making a false sexual harassment claim, though later she swore to a mutual friend she did it at the captain's request.
I learned several valuable life lessons from the event. I've always treated women in the work place with respect, but have never developed a close friendship with a female colleague. But most of all, I never again attempted to date anyone I worked with. Probably a good rule for all men in the workplace.