Today we tell a tale that, at the outset, seems so pedestrian, so mundane, that it hardly even bears mentioning. It is a story of a man who physically grabbed a shark in the water off an Australian beach, dragged it away from nearby children, and lost his job in the UK as a result.

Oh, and I should mention the man was in Australia while on “leave” from his job for “work-related stress”. I should also note his wife, who was with him, was also on leave from the same employer for “work related stress”. They both were employed by the Pant & Dowlais Boys & Girls Club in Wales.

So they both went to Australia on what was no doubt a physician prescribed stress reduction therapy session. I don’t know if physicians dispense medications in the UK, but perhaps this one owned a travel agency and was a dispensing travel physician, I don’t know. But at any rate, the man, who neglected to inform his employer that he and his wife were traveling to Australia as part of their “work related stress” leave, was captured on videotape wrestling a shark away from children and sending it in another direction. Hailed a hero, the video went viral. His employer, who was apparently unaware they were funding this little expedition, saw the video, and was not amused. 

They fired both of them. 

This story was brought to my attention by a LinkedIn connection, and the person who referred it to me rightly pointed out the comments people were making to the original source article, which can be found here. Those comments are not favorable to the employer in any way. The general feeling seems to be, “Hey, they were on stress leave, what better way to relieve stress than go on a vacation to an Australian beach?” 

Bad employer.

I, of course, would disagree with this misguided assessment. I personally find it a bit offensive that it is acceptable to claim mental stress to simply justify a paid vacation. I am not familiar with the disability laws in the United Kingdom, but I suspect they are more socialistically inclined than our own legislative norms. I would think these people were being paid. And the majority of the commenters seem fine with that notion – or they are clueless to the realities of the situation.

And what would be so terrible at a Boys & Girls Club as to cause both a husband and wife to need leave time for work related stress? Why were they on this leave in the first place? Granted, I wouldn’t want to spend my work days with a gaggle of incorrigible youth, but then again I wouldn’t actually seek work at such an operation. This is not unlike the Ohio teacher who was afraid of children and sued her school district employer for failing to accommodate her “disability”.

What a load of crap.

So I am with the employer on this one. This man’s heroic effort was a “tail too far”. To this observer, this guy didn’t just wrestle the shark. It turns out he jumped it.

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