A Papa John’s pizza franchise outside of Atlanta made headlines last week when one of their delivery drivers used a gun to turn the tables on some thieves, but the real story was whether or not the driver would be allowed to keep her job.
Last Saturday, a 27-year-old female driver arrived at a Dekalb County residence when a man approached her and began ordering her out of the vehicle.
“When he got to her he produced a handgun and forced her out of the vehicle and on to the ground,” DeKalb County Police Capt. Stephen Fore described to ABC affiliate WSB-TV.
The driver obeyed, but was soon able to produce her own handgun and fire rounds at the suspect, shooting 24-year-old Donquaz Stephenson in the face.
Stephenson fled the scene and was later found at a nearby home in need of serious medical attention, while another suspect also stole the driver’s car.
“She had no other choice. She must have been in fear for her life and she reacted,” Capt. Fore said in support of the driver’s actions, but it was feared the driver may lose her job due to insubordination.
On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Kentucky-based pizza company announced that, while it contradicts company policy, the driver involved in the altercation would indeed keep her job, a commendable decision, particularly striking in light of the anti-gun culture currently propagated by the establishment.
“The shooting that occurred during a Papa John’s delivery in Atlanta recently is a tragic event,” the Papa John’s spokesperson said. “The safety of Papa John’s employees is a top priority for our company. Company policy prohibits employees from utilizing firearms in the performance of their duties. We plan no changes to our current policy, which is designed to protect customers and employees. Upon investigation and considering the specific facts of the situation, we have reassigned the employee to work in the store and are offering her counseling to help her recuperate from the incident.”
As noted, the decision is indeed worthy of kudos, but Papa John’s “policy prohibiting employees from utilizing firearms in the performance of their duties” may be in need of some revision.
A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report recently found the delivery driver profession to be among the most dangerous jobs in America.
The need to allow drivers to defend themselves becomes clear with each new case, however, corporate pizza chains continue to restrict the right to self-defense for the sake of avoiding financial and legal liability.
The company in this case showed backbone by defending its employee – even if just to avoid negative press – but it remains to be seen if it will live up to its stated priority of employee safety by revising its weapons policy.