Each year, drunk driving takes the lives of nearly 1.2 million people and leaves millions injured or disabled. Twenty-three-year-old Valerie Couturier was trying to prevent a fatality from becoming another statistic. The Quebec waitress believes her intervention to stop a drunken customer from driving home was the reason that she was fired from her restaurant in Montreal.
Couturier finished her shift at the Le Chêne Blanc in Boucherville, Montreal on Aug. 16 but the waitress decided to stay to celebrate the birthday of a friend, CBC.ca reports. At approximately 1:30 a.m., the Canadian waitress noticed that there was an inebriated customer trying to get into his car.
“Me and my friend tried to stop him and ask him if he wanted to call a cab,” Couturier said, adding that the man didn’t want to leave his car there. “The guy just took his keys and left."
The Le Chêne Blanc waitress and her friend decided to take action into their own hands and call the police. Couturier’s friend and another customer from the restaurant took the drunk customer’s keys before the police officers showed up a few minutes later. According to CTV, the police officers drove the man home, and no charges were placed.
“I didn’t want him to kill someone,” Couturier told CTV.
Unfortunately, no good deed goes unpunished, as the waitress reported that she was fired one week later for stopping a drunk customer from driving home. Couturier, who has worked at Le Chêne Blanc for less than nine months, was told by her bosses that she could ruin the reputation of the restaurant and open them up to litigation for what she did.
“They told me what I did was inacceptable,” said Couturier. “They said they didn’t have a choice other than to fire me.”
Restaurant owners Dave Baillargeon and Eric LaFlamme insist that the Canadian waitress was not fired for calling the police, but for other reasons that they cannot discuss because of the risk of litigation.
“Unfortunately, I can’t tell you for the moment why because of the risk of litigation,” said Dave Baillargeon to Radio-Canada.
Couturier was given one week of pay when she was fired from her job at the Montreal-area restaurant. She expressed that she has no desire to have her job back because the work environment would be too tense, but she wants to effectively communicate that people shouldn’t be afraid to intervene in these situations.
“What I want to do is really to change things …. Maybe if some changes are made … people would not be afraid to call police,” she said.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada, citizens who see a drunk driver on the road are advised to note the license plate number, along with the details of the vehicle, and call 9-1-1.