The murder of a 17-year-old girl in a Montreal gas station was tragic enough. What set me off was a spokesperson for the company she worked for saying she should have kept the door locked. I was watching the news on Wednesday night when I heard the clip.
And I saw red as I reached for my PalmPilot and jotted down my thoughts. How callous of an unfeeling corporation to shift the blame to the murder victim. The cowardice angered me. Another column was born. Here's the result:
Late-night workers dying needlesslyUpdate: All four suspects have now been arrested. Nothing can ever bring back a lost girl's life, but it's comforting to know those who did this will ultimately pay some price.
Published Friday, January 27. 2006
The London Free Press
You’ve got to hand it to Shell Canada.
A 17-year-old girl is stabbed to death while working at a Shell station in Montreal, and the company’s first response is that she violated company policy by unlocking the front door.
Brigitte Serre’s murder early Wednesday has sparked a national debate over the widespread practice of staffing convenience and other all-night retail outlets with only one employee.
Owners, often billion-dollar conglomerates, say it would cost too much money to run late-night shifts with multiple employees.
They’re missing the point. The cost to this girl’s family is incalculably larger than the minimum wage paycheck she never had a chance to bring home.
Shell claims its sole responsibility is to enforce provincial legislation. Forgive me for thinking an employer’s responsibility must go further than the letter of the law. Young, vulnerable employees deserve better.
Alberta enforced new rules after Tara MacDonald was murdered at a Calgary fast food restaurant in 2000. How many more teenagers need to die before the rest of the country follows suit?
Your turn: Please take a moment to reflect on a life lost far too soon (her death notice can be found here.) And if you have kids of your own, never miss an opportunity to give them a hug and tell them how much you love them. I know it may sound corny, but any parent who's lost a child would give anything to engage in this simple gesture just one more time.