Suspended Iowa bus driver back at work

The other day, I blogged about the Iowa bus driver, Angela Shiel, who was suspended after she refused to do her job because the bus he’d been assigned had the new atheist ad on it with the, oh so offensive, “Don’t Believe In God? You Are Not Alone” slogan on it.

Well now she’s back at work. . .conditionally:

DART officials told Shiel last week that she could keep her job as long as she didn’t refuse to drive a bus again. They could not promise her that she wouldn’t be assigned a bus with the atheist ad, said General Manager Brad Miller.

“We’re giving her a second chance,” Miller said. “There’s no assurances that there might not be another ad she doesn’t agree with. There’s so many different things that go into that, there’s no way we can guarantee anything.”

Miller said Shiel was told she would be subject to termination should she choose to walk away from the job again.

Seems very reasonable on the part of the DART officials. No reason anyone needs to get fired over this. Maybe this can just be one of the teachable moments that can cause Ms. Shiel to, as Obama might say, recalibrate your thinking. Except for this:

Shiel said today that her views on the ad haven’t changed and she still will not drive any bus with the ad.

“Hopefully I won’t get the sign anymore,” she said. “It’s a chance I have to take. …I like what I’m doing. I don’t want to start all over.”

What the fuck?! You don’t have to start over. You were wrong, have been disciplined, and now your bosses have given you a second chance.

I don’t think she quite understands the arrangement. She’s being given a second chance on the condition that she promises to do her job and not flake out again. That, as I understand it, was the deal. Now she’s publicly stating that if she does happen to drive another truck with an atheist ad on it, she’s just going to do the same thing she did before? Isn’t that the definition of insanity? You’re not getting it, Angela. Agreeing to come back to work means promising not to flake out again and do your job regardless of what’s written on the side of your vehicle. Considering your outrageous actions, that’s a pretty good deal. If you can’t promise not to walk off the job again, then you shouldn’t be returning to work at all!

Now to be fair, I’d be pretty upset if I had to drive a bus with a large ad on the side of it that I strongly disagreed with too. But would I walk off the job because of it? No. That would be irresponsible and disrespectful to my employers as well as my fellow co-workers. I would politely talk to management about my concerns and tell them that I don’t think it’s a good idea for them to accept advertising from controversial sources that might offend certain customers. Sure, it probably wouldn’t do any good, but I’d at least know that I did something. And the bottom line is that I wouldn’t walk away from my responsibilities.


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