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Point Loma Sprouts fires longtime employee for alleged theft

Ian Rey says it was an honest mistake

Ian Rey interviewed by a 10News reporter
Ian Rey interviewed by a 10News reporter

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.”

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Ian Rey interviewed by a 10News reporter
Ian Rey interviewed by a 10News reporter

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.”

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Comments
21

If the Boney family has a little decency, compassion, and savvy, whichever one of them runs that store will take a look at the situation and make a fair determination. But don't count on this current generation of the family to do anything right. The next couple days will tell anyone more than they want to know about the current management of Sprouts and the family that calls the shots.

May 8, 2013

Ian was hired by HENRY'S management and respected by their staff & customers for many years. He helped me on many occasions to find products & carry out groceries. Always had a smile. THEN.... SPROUTS came along -- with their negative attitude toward this kind, caring guy.

What does Sprouts have against him ??

Surely, they're using the mistaken jacket incident as just a legal ploy for them to fire him.

May 8, 2013

I went to Sprouts this morning and talked with several people. Having once worked there when it was a Henry's, I have lots of friends who were honest with me about this situation. There is more to this story than just a stolen jacket. A new manager just came on board and there is severe cost-cutting going on. Employees at the Pt. Loma Sprouts are grumbling severely about hours being cut. The Reader did not use my story on this subject even though it contained a very important... [edited] If this is a set-up to get rid of a long-time, high-earning employee, it would not surprise me, since I have seen it happen many times there, myself. Ian is so beloved--he will find another job. Trader Joes already has his application and I am going to the Grocery Outlet tomorrow to talk to them about hiring Ian. He is an asset to any company that hires him, DISABILITIES OR NOT! Please like this Facebook page that supports him: https://www.facebook.com/ian.rey.372. Thanks.

May 8, 2013

Hi how are you,i am currently having some major issues at sprouts and would really appreciate to hear what you think I should do about my situation.if you have some extra time and can talk would you please email me privately so we can talk I feel as though I am trapped as a good worker with no where in the company to go for support with the issues I am having and now might be in jeopardy of losing my job for speaking to my management about my issues I am desperately trying to find a way to protect my job any support or feedback from you I think might greatly help me.thank you my email is [email protected]

April 26, 2015

Looks like Sprouts has lost me as a customer, Ian was such a nice guy. VERY bad marketing on their part if they don't hire him back. Maybe he would rather work somewhere else after all this anyway, I'm just sayin'......

May 8, 2013

If the story as reported is accurate, this is disappointing. For the last couple years I've split my shopping between the local union grocers (packaged stuff, frozen goods) and this Boney's/Henry's/Sprouts location (meats/produce), but I'm tempted to go back to People's as my sole produce source and try to find an affordable local butcher...

May 8, 2013

Oh man - I used to shop there all the time - Ian was always there with a huge smile to help bag the food and offer help to the car. Super nice guy. I really hope that this turns around in his favor.

May 9, 2013

Mr. Rey is a nice guy and a great employee for Sprouts.

Always helpful and always smiling.

May 9, 2013

A 14 year employee mistakenly takes a jacket, brings it back, and the local Sprouts manager asks corporate for backup and they fire him? I'll never shop at this or any other Sprouts again, not just because what happened was shady and mean, but because Ian Rey was the best part of the store. And you wonder why we hate corporations?

May 9, 2013
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
May 9, 2013

Another rally for Ian today at 6 pm, wear BLACK in support! At Sprouts...or maybe we should call it Doubts!

May 10, 2013

We have half of a story here. Kinda tough to proceed without more info.

May 10, 2013

What else could you possibly need to know? Ian made a mistake. They fired him for it. If we all got fired for honest mistakes, we'd all be collecting unemployment. Seems pretty cut and dried to me. I don't really see where we have 'half a story', especially when Sprouts won't comment. Kind of tells me all I need to know. Corporations acting badly, as usual...

May 10, 2013

Jeez viewer, can you please explain just what that all meant? I have no notion what you said in that first "paragraph".

May 10, 2013

Mehinks viewer's email might have been compromised. Failing that, I'm baffled.

May 11, 2013

Seriously, what the HECK are you talking about??? No one can understand your writing in the slightest, let alone whatever weird point you are trying to make,

May 10, 2013

So somebody agrees with me! Methinks she's too clever with the words for the rest of us.

May 11, 2013

From a purely personal and anecdotal standpoint, I keep finding that Sprouts and some of the predecessor Henry's locations overcharging. There's one on Rancho Santa Fe Road in Carlsbad that kept failing to have advertised specials or failing to ring them out at the correct price. One day I actually called the store manager from the parking lot within a minute of having a run-in with a "confused" cashier over one of the specials. He took pains to reassure me that my several incidents were not typical and not part of any campaign to overcharge or just not have the goods available at the correct price. But, after that last experience, I just stopped going there, figuring that I didn't need the aggravation. For those who have never heard the old saw, "First time, shame on them; second time, shame on me", when I handle things that way, it works very well. But I've had my points of confusion with the Sprouts in San Marcos a few times. Like the time the two "meatcutters" (actually meatheads) couldn't understand what I was talking about in regard to some Sockeye salmon in their ad until I walked up to the front of the store and got a copy and took it back and showed it to them. They then went into an Abbott and Costello act, trying to be funny, but it didn't work for me. If you shop there, beware, and watch every price as they ring you out.

May 10, 2013

Okay, and do you really not understand the point of hitting the "Reply ↵" link?

May 10, 2013

I have been a shopper there for a few years..and I know an employee actually. I don't know (like with any news story) what all the facts are. But I do know this: Ian demonstrated SUPERIOR customer service at this store every time I encountered him there. I enjoyed his positive attitude, his willingness to help, and if you ever heard him announcing daily specials over the mic, well, you know he was astute too. If the facts are reported accurately I am going to have to probably shift my weekly consumption of one to two turkey sandwiches on multi-grain somewhere else. I will miss the trail mix too if I do a full-on boycott, such is life. The produce is decent, and you can find extra ripe hipsters at the one on Park st.

May 17, 2013

A couple of days ago, I was shopping in Sprouts in Point Loma. Ian Rey recognized me and came forward to say hello and shake my hand. He remembers me from the time he worked in that Sprouts.

He is now much more mature, speaks more clearly, and looks like he's doing well. He also said he is now working at Baron's Market, which is about 2-miles away, and said he's very happy and doing very well.

All of which was a great relief to me and made me very happy for him. He is of course still rather young, and I wish him well.

March 30, 2018

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