DETROIT, MI (WCMH) — A Detroit firefighter was fired for bringing a watermelon to the station as a welcoming gift.
According to WJBK, Robert Pattison, 41, brought a watermelon as part of the tradition of new firefighters bringing gifts to help introduce themselves at their assigned stations.
However, WJBK reports, Pattison was terminated from his new job after several African-American firefighters were offended by the gift.
The story garnered so much nation attention that even Snopes.com investigated whether it was true or not. The conclusion: It is in fact true, according to Snopes, which says most social media responses claim Pattison’s termination was an overreaction.
There’s even a Change.org petition requesting Pattison be reinstated.
“A man lost his job over bringing fruit…FRUIT….to meet his new coworkers. When will this nonsense stop?!” The petition reads.
As of Tuesday morning, the petition had more than 400 signatures.
Pattison told WJBK that the watermelon wasn’t meant to be offensive and it wasn’t a joke when he brought it into the fire station.