LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV/CBS) - Imagine giving up a kidney to help save your boss' life, and then getting fired! A woman on New York's Long Island says it happened to her. She's now taking on her former employer.
Last August, according to papers filed with the New York State Division of Human Rights, Debbie Stevens was working as an assistant to an executive at the Atlantic Automotive Group which operates car dealerships on Long Island. Her boss Jaqueline Brucia needed a new kidney. Debbie offered to help in an uncommonly generous way.
She became a link in a multiple patient kidney chain which resulted in a kidney for her loss. She says, "Mine was donated on her behalf so that she could get another one, so she could get a good one that matched her perfectly. To be a part of that, you have to give one in order to get one."
According to Stevens, the only thanks she got from her boss came in an email saying, "Thanks more than I can ever say." Stevens says, "I mean, what was I gonna do? Say how come you haven't said thank you?"
Stevens returned to work four weeks later even before Brucia. Three days after coming back, she didn't feel well. Stevens says, "No sooner when I got through the door at my house, the phone rang and it was her, saying 'What are you doing? Why are you home?' And I'm like, 'Jackie, I don't feel well.' And she goes, 'Well you can't just can't come and go as you please. People are going to think you're getting special treatment.'"
Stevens had complications from the surgery she says like nerve damage in her leg. But, says Stevens, the yelling didn't' stop. She says, "And she told me it sounds like a personal problem and she wasn't interested. And I said, 'Well it's a personal problem because it's surgery. I had a kidney removed!' And she said, 'Oh, are you throwing this up in my face?'"
When she hired a lawyer, Stevens was given a different job at another dealership 50 miles away before being fired. Stevens says, "They just told me I wasn't performing up to standards, that I was making mistakes. If I didn't live through it, I would probably have a hard time believing it also. But this is exactly how it happened."
On Monday, Jacqueline Brucia said this, "I will always be very grateful that she gave me a kidney. I have nothing bad to say about her. She did a wonderful thing for me. And I wish her the best."
Which didn't answer the obvious question, why then did Debbie Stevens get fired? The Atlantic Auto Group has this to say, "It is unfortunate that one employee has used her own generous act to make up a groundless claim. Atlantic Auto treated her appropriately and acted honorably and fairly, at every turn."
As for Debbie Stevens she is left to ready her lawsuit and deal with her raw emotions.
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