After more than seven years working as a Chattanooga park ranger, Deryl Nelson recently danced his way out of job.
The 51-year-old told Chattanooga’s WRCB-TV 3, the local NBC affiliate, that he has always enjoyed dancing and eventually brought a few dance moves into his day job. Nelson says he first began dancing on the job after he joined a group of visitors doing the “Macarena,” causing the crowd of onlookers to erupt in cheers and applause. Since then, the ranger says he’s thrown a random two-step in almost daily as he completes his ranger duties.
— Gregory Martin (@NEligrey) June 24, 2014
But the dance party recently came to an end when a park visitor complained about Nelson’s moves, posting a video of him dancing online. City officials became aware of the clip and ruled his moves were "unbecoming conduct” and inappropriate for his job. He was subsequently fired from his position for two violations, "conduct unbecoming of an employee" and "inefficiency or negligence in performance of duties.
Nelson says he was known as the “dancing park ranger” and feels he did nothing wrong. He says he was only trying to give visitors a little laugh.
"It's all about enjoying what you do and that's the way I feel," Nelson said. He added that his dance moves were "clean fun” and “nothing like doing any bumping and grinding."
Since it is a personnel matter, city officials say they won’t comment on the case. According to WRCB, Nelson’s records don’t show he’s ever been reprimanded for dancing. But he did receive a violation for hitting a vehicle in 2010 and making an “unwelcome” comment about a co-worker.”
The city says they don’t have a copy of the video that led to his firing, and the original clip is no longer able to be viewed online. However, there are a few copies of the video uploaded to YouTube by other users.