Cainan Austin was the first baby born in Concord, New Hampshire, in 2017, but his arrival marked a bittersweet occasion for his dad. In order to be present for his son’s birth, Army veteran Lamar Austin had to call out of work at his new job.
Austin told the Concord Monitor that he was scheduled to work Dec. 30 and 31, but his employer, Manchester-based Salerno Protective Services, was less than understanding when his wife Lindsay spent those two days in labor.
He called out the first day, but on the second day, his supervisor responded with a warning.
“I didn’t want to make it seem like I’m trying to miss work or something,” Austin said. “The second day I told my boss, ‘My wife is still in labor,’ and he just said, ‘You’re forcing my hand, if you aren’t in work by 8 tomorrow we are going to terminate you.’ ”
Still, Austin refused to leave his wife.
As promised, at 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day, Austin said he got a text, reading, “As of now, you are terminated.”
“I just responded ‘ok,’ ” Austin told the Concord Monitor. “I was in the hospital, it was a long night, and I wasn’t trying to argue with nobody about a job while my wife was in labor.”
Austin served for more than three years in the Army spending a six months in Iraq as an ammunition specialist in 2006. He now lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. The job at Salerno Protective Services was new, and he was hired on a 90-day probationary basis. The company, however, expects its employees to be on-call 24/7. And because of the terms of his contract, his termination was perfectly legal.
“Maybe I just wasn’t working there long enough for them to want to keep me,” Austin said.
Prior to working there, he held jobs as a crossing guard, at Target, and Pitco, a company that makes oil fryers for fast food companies. And while he was unemployed, his church helped him and his family get back on the feet.
He hopes eventually to get into electrical work.
After reading Austin’s story, Denis Beaudoin, the business manager from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Concord, reached out to Austin, offering him the chance to apply for an apprenticeship. Three other companies approached him as well, and a fundraiser pledged to help his family out financially.
“Sometimes you lose something and you get something even better,” Austin said.