New York City Plumber Says He Was Fired For Helping Save Woman's Life

David Justino said the media attention from his rescue was too much for his employers.

David Justino was hailed as a hero after he helped save the life of British tourist Sian Green after an August taxi crash severed her foot.  (Photo by Marcus Santos/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Marcus Santos/NY Daily News via Getty Images
When an act of heroism occurs in the workplace, you'd hope the responsible worker would receive some kind of reward. But 44-year old New York City plumber David Justino (pictured right) says quite the opposite occurred to him as a result of his courageous act of heroism. As was reported by New York's Daily News, Justino says he was fired as a result of his helping to save the life of 23-year old British tourist, Sian Green. He said his high-profile rescue attracted so much attention his managers decided to just be rid of him. He said his employer gave him no official reason, but in a statement to the media, the New York-based Bass Plumbing said the work had simply run out.

Last month, Justino made headlines when he used his plumber's belt as a tourniquet to wrap around Green's severed foot after a cab crashed into her in midtown Manhattan. Justino was working as the foreman at the construction of a Duane Reade in the Rockefeller Center subway station. After the bleeding was brought under control, none other than famous television personality, Dr. Mehmet Oz, stumbled onto the scene and was able to help save Green's life. (She had to get her left leg amputated.) But in speaking to the Daily News in a separate report, Dr. Oz said, "the real hero of the day is plumber Dave." The use of his belt was "very smart thinking. A simple thing like a union plumber's belt can save your life," he said.

After the movie-like sequence made it to the public, the story soon grabbed headlines, with even NBC's "Today Show" doing a feature on it. And Justino thinks the attention motivated his employers to dismiss him. "I lost my job for saving this girl!" he told the Daily News. "All that commotion, my boss had enough of it and decided it would be better to fire me ... I think I would have been better off doing heroin than being a hero."

Days after the rescue, Justino's contractor, Bass Plumbing told him his last day on the gig was to be Sept. 13. He said he was forced to return full-time to running his aquarium shop in Yonkers, the Aquarium Critters Warehouse, a gig he prefers to keep as a part-time job.

Bass Plumbing, for its part, denied the fanfare led to the firing. The reason for the dismissal, they said, was far more mundane -- the work dried up. "Although we were very proud to have him working here, (Justino) was one of three union plumbers laid off due to lack of actual jobs the company is in the process of performing," a company representative said in a statement.

Green, for her part, only had gratitude for Justino and others who took part in her rescue. "There's good people in this world, very good people in this world that I can't thank enough. They saved my life. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be sitting here right now telling this story," she told the Today Show.

It is rare, but the drudgery of daily working life can present situations that allow heroes to rise to the occasion. Among the more daring recent acts of heroism profiled by AOL Jobs include the Chilean bus mechanic who stepped in to beat down a knife-wielding assailant as he was threatening the life of the bus driver.

His job was the last thing on Justino's mind after he witnessed the crash. "Everyone was pulling out cellphones, videotaping instead of helping," he told the Daily News."I wasn't going to let that cab take her life. God's biggest gift is life... I wouldn't let this thing happen. Not on my watch."

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The problem is the UNION. Unions charge three and four times the rates non-union companies charge. This, in and of itself tells you that eventually you are going to run out of work. I have absolutely no sympathy for anyone in a union who is not working. I say good. As an HR professional, I have seen the unions single handedly shut down businesses because they wanted more vacation time, more money, more everything. So I say, join a union and I hope you lose your job. The only one's losing money are the employees. The Union Big Wheels are still getting their money .... Oh I'm sorry, I meant to say they're still collecting your money. Enjoy your benefits all you Union lovers!!!

October 02 2013 at 3:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

with half the union sitting home-Lets put in perspective one mans plight who is a small business owner and uses the Plumbers Union as a second job. We have members losing their homes and not being able to put food on the table and this guy is crying about having to go back to work at the fish store he owns-cry me a river guy!!!

September 29 2013 at 10:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

sympathy for Justino should be measured considering he's a small business owner who only relys on work with the union as a 2nd job- most members of the Plumbers Union count on their weekly paycheck as their only source of income to feed their families! And most are out of work- due to disasterous economic realitys which have buried municipal projects which are capable of sustaining high employment of union construction workers! The backbone of the country such as organized,PRIVATE labor unions which receive no taxpayer $ are being decimated daily by non union contractors forming alliances with major developers who would rather pay a lower wage for inferior quality of work just to enhance their bottom line! If Justino wants to make a stand and stand up for the jobs of all the members of local 1 then we all welcome that-but lets not shed a tear over 1 mans plight unless it solves the plight of us all!!!!

September 29 2013 at 10:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I doubt if he was fired for saving this woman's life. Did the other 2 guys that were laid off save someone's life also?

September 29 2013 at 9:59 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Greeeaaat.....another reason for people to take a back seat and not help someone in need. Good job Bass Plumbing for being huge morons.

September 29 2013 at 8:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I'm a union plumber as well and let me explain the reality of how half the union members are out of work!!! We have roughly 5000 members and 2500 are unemployed,,some going on more then 2 years! The name of the company Justino worked for is called Bass Mechanical not Brass- To shed some much needed light on the horrendous employment conditions of the Plumbers union-one only has to look at the no hiring hall system upon which members rely on their own solicitation of work to get employed! simply stated, a union member can only be hired directly by a contractor who signs up with the union ,or be appointed to his job by a business agent who works for the union which creates favorability and nepotism issues not to mention blatant bribery and corruption-after the union was placed in trusteeship in early 2000's the Organized Crime Task Force stated as a condition to come out of that trusteeship the union had to create a fair hiring system which has yet to materialize now in 2013!!!!! Justino should run for Business agent of our union and effect change the members of this union desperately needs because we all pay union dues ,but only half of us work???-that's American Union Labor? That sounds a lot like taxation without representation to me!!!

September 29 2013 at 8:27 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mike's comment

Yep, and the unions support NOBAMA, does that make sense to you?

September 29 2013 at 11:01 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Plumbing work actually can run out but if your employer likes you, they may lay you off for a week or two but they want you to stay with them and not go back to the hall. You'd think that Brass plumbing would use the free publicity. Instead of Joe the Plumber, we now have Dave the Plumber, and he's a REAL plumber at that! Don't worry Dave, there's bound to be some work coming up, there's always bigger and better things for selfless folks.

September 29 2013 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


September 29 2013 at 6:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I for one am proud of you Mr. Justino.Well done.

September 29 2013 at 6:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Wow, the last thing you want to see is a plumber with his belt off!

September 29 2013 at 4:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to zonkleynat's comment

lmao - good one ;)

October 03 2013 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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