A park ranger’s love of public dancing may have sent him waltzing into the unemployment line.
Deryl Nelson, 51, worked at Coolidge Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for seven years. About a year into into the job, he drew cheers for joining a group of visitors doing the Macarena.
After that, there was no stopping him and he would boogie oogie oogie at impromptu moments.
“It’s all about enjoying what you do and that’s the way I feel,” Nelson said told WRCB TV. “[It’s] clean fun. It’s nothing like doing any bumping and grinding.”
Some say otherwise.
Work was a kick for Nelson until recently when he was booted off the job after a woman named Melissa Parsons filmed one of his dance sessions and posted it online.
The raw video of Nelson’s dance shows him at one point laying on the ground with his legs folded under his body while he seems to pump his pelvis towards the sky.
“As a parent and seeing all the parents that were covering their kids eyes and turning their heads away, it wasn’t something you would expect to see in Coolidge Park or anywhere from a grown man, especially a man in uniform,” Parsons told NewsChannel9.com. “He went all the way to the ground, he came back up from the ground, he was grabbing areas that you would see on a rated R movie.”
WATCH: Deryl Nelson The Dancing Park Ranger
When Nelson’s supervisors saw the video, they terminated him for what the city calls, “conduct unbecoming a public employee.”
Chattanooga city officials say they do not comment on personnel matters, but this isn’t Nelson’s first dance with danger.
According to city records, Nelson was suspended for crashing a car while on duty. In 2013, he was suspended for five days for “addressing inappropriate remarks to a co-worker,” according to UPI.com.
Last year, he also won an award from the police department for helping save a woman’s life at the park, MercuryNews.com reported.
News about Nelson’s termination has moved some people to their feet.
A Facebook group called Bring Back Deryl Nelson: The Dancing Park Ranger has attracted about 486 supporters, about the same number that has signed a Change.org petition addressed to the City of Chattanooga.
Nelson refuses to take the termination lying down — literally — and wants his job back.
“This is my song and nothing going to bring me down,” he said, according to TimesFreePress.com. “I love life and I love dancing!”
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