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Man fired for wearing Packers tie back at work — for rival car dealer

The tie thgot John Stone fired -- rehired. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

The tie that got John Stone fired -- and rehired. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

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Wearing his Green Bay Packers tie to work on Monday morning might not have been such a bad idea after all for fired car salesman John Stone.

A day after the Chicago Sun-Times revealed how the 34-year-old South Side Packers fan was fired by his Bears-supporting boss for wearing the green and yellow necktie to work at Webb Chevrolet in Oak Lawn, Stone’s story went international — picked up by newspapers as far away as England and New Zealand as well as by national broadcasters across the U.S.

The exposure Tuesday snagged Stone a job offer to sell Chevys for a rival dealer, who says he’s been inundated with pledges from Packers fans promising to buy new cars from Stone if he’s hired.

“They’ve been calling from as far away as San Diego, saying they’ll buy from him and only him,” said Guy Cesario of Chevrolet of Homewood. “It’s hard to believe anybody could be so stupid as to fire a good salesman for wearing a Packers tie.”

Webb Chevrolet general manager Jerry Roberts said he fired father-of-two Stone Monday after Stone five times refused to remove the tie, which Roberts said “salted the wounds” of Bears fans, was bad for business and undermined advertising deals Webb has with the Bears.

But Cesario said his salesmen regularly wore the colors of out-of-town teams and that friendly sporting rivalries are “all in good fun.” He doesn’t expect Bears fans will avoid his dealership if Stone is hired, he said.

As a Chicago Cubs fan who grew up in the heart of White Sox territory on the South Side, “I took a lot of abuse for wearing a Cubs uniform as a kid, so I’ve got some sympathy for him,” he added.

Stone said he was thrilled at the job offer but that he wanted to meet with Cesario first “to make sure this job doesn’t turn bad like the last one.”

Stone’s grandmother — also a Packers fan — recently died and it has been a stressful time for him, he said.

But “a guy called from Wisconsin, saying he’ll buy a Tahoe from me,” Stone said as he fielded calls from New York, Michigan and Texas. “I hope it works out.”

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