Sometimes it doesn't pay to do the right thing. Just ask John Chevilott, a former public-works employee in Wayne County, Mich., who earlier this month found a loaded, snubnosed revolver while mowing grass in Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood, turned it in and was promptly fired.
"It was damaged, so it could've went off. Surprisingly, it didn't kill the guy on the mower," he told Detroit TV station WJBK. Chevilott (pictured at left) said the crew was waiting for Detroit police to swing by and pick up the gun, but they never showed.
So the veteran employee of the Department of Public Services did what he thought was the right thing: Finished the job and then turned the gun into police later the same evening.
Police told Chevilott he did the right thing by getting the gun off the streets, he said. A check revealed that it had been stolen from a nearby suburb in 2005.
Where he ran into trouble is with his superiors, who saw things rather differently.
A Wayne County spokeswoman told WJBK that according to department rules employees aren't allowed to possess a weapon on work property.
So after 23 years -- just two shy of retirement -- Chevilott was fired for violation of department policies, even though he found the gun while on the job and didn't bring it to work. His foreman, who knew about the incident, was suspended for 30 days.
WJBK reports that Chevilott, who wants his job back, was also fired for insubordination and unauthorized access to the department's road yard.
The union representing Chevilott, Local 101, has filed a grievance and intends to fight all three accusations.
Union President Thomas Richards told the TV station, "There's never been any policy brought to light on what we should do when they find a weapon."
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