'Thoughtless human being'. 'Complete twit'. 'You can't just behave like that in public and expect to get away with it'.
These were just some of the comments I received when I asked a bunch of youngsters who are staying with us what they thought of the young finance professional who got fired for 'joking' about taking out a cyclist on Twitter. You see, I actually initially felt a bit sorry for this hapless individual. Did he really deserve to get fired for a momentary lapse of control, a youthful spurt of braggadocio ?
But we now live in a day and age where public decency is controlled by, err - the public (you and me). So when you plaster your thoughts all over the Internet, it's more than likely your boss will find out about it if it's inappropriate.
Now I've made a kind of second journalistic career demanding that City folk be held to a higher moral standard, and I'm not about to change tack now. We are the doctors and lawyers of the markets, and must never forget that. But if this lad had 'joked' in a bar to his mates, hopefully a few of them would have pointed put that they, too, rode to work. And that would have been the end of it. But plastering it all over social media is clearly another ballgame.
So what of his employers ? They have protected the reputation of their firm, and maintained its gravitas in what is a deadly serious business - the business of money, finance and banking. They've made a valid point with brisk efficiency, showing that in the professional world we operate, there's simply no room for mucking around in public.
The young man, however, will find another job, having learned a valuable life lesson. His employers are to be congratulated. I only wish such sudden and emotionless justice could feature a bit more in British life.