WEST BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The Long Island bus driver who was fired last week after helping three stranded Nassau County detectives during a downpour has been reinstated following a union hearing Friday.
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George Daw and his union boss walked victoriously out of a grievance hearing with Daw's school bus company. Daw said he will get back pay and anything else he is entitled to from the time of termination to his reinstatement date and his record will be wiped clean.
"It's been an emotional roller coaster. I've been reliving this thing," Daw told CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan. "I think it's a victory for America. I don't think anyone should have to second-guess helping first responders. That's the message. It's not a hero issue."
It was one week ago Daw was unceremoniously booted from his job with Educational Bus Transportation for "violating company policy" when he rescued three stranded Nassau County police officers from their submerged vehicle during violent hailstorms and gave them a ride in his school bus back their precinct.
"Do I leave these three police officers, due to company policy?" Daw told McLogan. "I didn't even second-guess it. I told the child to jump in the back, these people are coming on board. I had to get them."
He then went back to his home base in Copiague and filed an incident report. Soon after, he was handed a notice of termination, which said in part: "Employee endangered welfare of student he was transporting when he picked up three unauthorized passengers."
When fired, Daw said he was devastated that his union was silent. The three Nassau detectives and their commanding officer were flabbergasted by the firing.
"When a person is disciplined they have to file a grievance. George filed a grievance. I contacted the company and set up a hearing. It's not that we didn't back him. It's that we had to follow the protocols as per the contract," Troy Anderson of the United Service Workers Union explained.
All week Daw and his wife hoped for a call from his bus company. He cleaned his pool and waited for the phone to ring.
CBS 2 repeatedly went to the bus yard for an explanation.
"And CBS who started the ball rolling, I might add, I'm very grateful. And it's a story that had to be told," Daw said. "I'd do it again if I had to rescue these first responders and them maintaining their policy position."
Daw will return to work on his regular route on Aug. 17, and his family will throw a farewell party for their two sons Saturday, off to study to become police and naval officers.
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