WEST BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island school bus driver was called into his boss’ office expecting commendation. Instead, he said he was fired for helping three police officers stranded in a violent storm — and transporting them in his school bus.
School bus driver George Daw lost his job Monday in a firing flap that began during last week’s freak and violent hail storm. He was quite emotional when he spoke to CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
“Who wouldn’t be? It’s crazy,” Daw said.
Daw snapped pictures as a near-monsoon moved through New Hyde Park. Traffic was stopped, cars were submerged and drivers panicked.
Daw finally freed his yellow SUV school bus — with his one single child passenger aboard — amid sudden cries for help from three Nassau County police detectives.
“Do I leave these three police officers, due to company policy?” Daw said. “I didn’t even second guess it. I told the child to jump in the back, these people are coming on board. I had to get them.”
Daw rescued and transported the police officers — their unmarked patrol car was a total loss. He said he continued to home base in Copiague, where he filled out an incident report. But instead of praise, he was handed a notice of termination, which said in part: “Employee endangered welfare of student he was transporting when he picked up three unauthorized passengers.”
It also said: “Employee made decision to drive through large body of water.”
“It’s not like I pulled off the road into a lake trying to endanger somebody’s life. I was caught in a storm,” Daw said.
McLogan asked to speak to Daw’s boss at Educational Bus, but she was told several times there was no one there to speak to her.
The three Nassau detectives and their commanding officer are flabbergasted at the firing.
“We are sorry to hear of any negative consequences that arose from his helping out my detectives,” Detective Lt. Raymond Cote said.
Daw suddenly finds himself unemployed, spending his days at home. He said he’s hoping for his job back, but not expecting his phone to ring.
Daw’s two sons are studying to be police and naval officers. He said if he had the chance to help first responders again, he would not hesitate.
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