About 15 people and a 10News crew showed up at the Point Loma Sprouts market at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, to rally support for Ian Rey, a 38-year-old developmentally disabled man who started working at the store 14 years ago, when it was named Henry’s.
According to Sunny Rey, Ian’s sister, on his way out of the Sprouts break room to go home last week, Ian grabbed a jacket that was draped over a chair. The black jacket, similar to one owned by Ian, belonged to a coworker. When Ian returned to work the following day, wearing his coworker’s jacket, he was accused of theft and suspended from work for three days. Even though he claimed his action was accidental, on Monday, May 6, Ian was fired.
Before he was fired, according to Sunny, Ian was asked to write an “I’m sorry” letter at the behest of a store manager. The letter was sent to the Sprouts corporate office and apparently interpreted as an admission of guilt. (Sprouts “does not comment on individual employee matters,” according to a statement from their PR person published by 10News.)
Sunny said Ian didn’t have the benefit of an advocate (as he usually does) to help him handle the situation. She has not been in contact with the coworker whose jacket Ian walked off with. Whether it was the jacket owner’s allegation that Ian stole it or whether management deemed Ian a thief is unclear; nobody in the store will talk about the matter.
Today, Sunny said she’d announced the rally on Facebook two hours in advance and “wasn’t surprised that so many people showed up…. What we’re hoping for is Ian to get his job back…so his lifeline to the community isn’t cut.”