When he went to work on May 3, John Chevilott didn’t figure his day would be particularly special. He had worked the same job for 23 years and, generally speaking, lawn-mowing isn’t something that presents too many twists and turns on a day-to-day basis.
While mowing the lawn during the mid-morning hours of that fateful Thursday in Detroit's Brightmoor area, Wayne County employee Chevilott found a loaded, snubnosed revolver in the weeds. It was probably a surprising discovery to some degree, but certainly not earth-shattering in any sense. As any other right-minded individual would under the same circumstances, Chevilott picked up the gun and waited for a police car to drive by so that he could turn it in. None did, however, so eventually he made the trek to a nearby department and turned it in himself.
It’s also important to note before moving on that, beyond just the general fact that picking up a gun laying in the grass is common sense, there was also a practical reason for why Chevilot did what he did.
"It was damaged, so it could've went off. Surprisingly, it didn't kill the guy on the mower," Chevilott explained to My Fox Detroit.
So if picking up a loaded, damaged firearm to make sure that some kid won’t doesn’t qualify as a good reason, Chevilott’s work-related justification should suffice.
Anyway, as noted, Chevilott originally wanted to turn the weapon in to a passing-by police vehicle, but he didn’t see one. So, essentially, he was forced to hold the piece while he went about his day, and then he turned it in to the proper authorities later.
No harm, no foul – right? Wrong.
Once they found out what happened, the powers that be at the Department of Public Services suspended Chevilott’s foreman for his employee’s deeds, and then they went ahead and just fired Chevilott altogether. Two years short of his retirement, no less.
Apparently, employees possessing firearms at work is a direct violation of department policy.
Just to recap: Chevilott found a gun while mowing the lawn. The gun was in the way of him doing his job (not to mention the fact that it’s freaking loaded gun laying in the street), so he picked it up with the full intention of handing it over to police. He eventually handed it over to police. Then, he got fired for picking up a loaded firearm off the street and handing it over to police.
"There's never been any policy brought to light on what we should do when they find a weapon," Chevilott said.
Well, of course not. What other option is there besides picking up the loaded gun and turning it in? There is no policy in place because nobody figured that folks would be stupid enough to terminate a 23-year employee who was on the brink of retirement for doing the right thing.
Needless to say, both Chevilott and his union are fighting to get him his job back.
(Kudos to My Fox Detroit)