A beloved city of Escondido employee, who's firing for a workplace policy violation sparked backlash from the community, has been given a second chance, a city spokesperson said Tuesday.
Dan Naylor, 31, was terminated for wearing his work uniform off the clock while having a drink at a restaurant with friends, an apparent policy violation for City of Escondido employees.
"I may have read it in the beginning, but I forgot about it," said Naylor, who has Cerebral Palsy and whose passion for Escondido has made him an unofficial ambassador for the city, said.
After several Escondido residents vouched for Naylor and urged the city manager to reinstate him, Naylor has his job back, City Manager Jeff Epp told NBC 7 in a statement on Tuesday.
"Dan's a really good guy, as we mentioned in our public statement. He's getting a second chance. I'm impressed by how much he cares about and loves our City," Epp wrote in an email to Naylor's supporters.
The city shared a photo of Naylor with City Manager Epp holding a sign that read, "Welcome Back Dan."
Patti Thompson was one of the people who urged Epp to give "Dan the Man" his job back.
Others said that the city would not be the same without Naylor.
"Without you, the city just has no personality, no heart. You have a really good heart… Keep on fighting, don’t give up," Beni Martinez said to Naylor.
Dan met many of the community members now at his side before he was hired by the city. He used to volunteer his time picking up trash around City Hall and Grape Day Park, waving signs supporting first responders, and trying to put smiles on people’s faces.
Naylor’s meeting with Epp was recorded and shared on social media. In it, Epp said he wanted to give Naylor a second chance but would have to go through the City Attorney’s Office after Naylor reached out to a lawyer.
The internal proceedings leading up to Naylor's reinstatement were not disclosed.
Read the city of Escondido's full statement below:
"Dan Naylor is a wonderful ambassador for our City. He has a generous spirit, and he is genuine. The tremendous outpouring of support he has received from good and decent people has truly been touching. Most of the emails have been respectful and properly acknowledged they do not know all the facts. These expressions of support have focused on compassion and second chances. We want a City that is clean and safe, and we certainly want one that is efficiently run. Sometimes it takes a couple of opportunities to get to that goal. Dan and I have met and discussed his ability to meet the high standards we want of our Escondido employees. Dan and I both think he can achieve that goal. Dan deserves a second chance. Therefore, after careful consideration Dan will remain in his position on the City's Public Works team."