HEY DONALD: YOU'RE FIRED!

Published on: February 12, 2004

THE TABLES have been turned on The Donald!

The bombastic billionaire -- whose catchphrase "You're fired!" is a highlight of his reality show -- is getting bombarded with the phrase wherever he goes.

And surprise -- he loves it!

Ever since the real estate mogul began using the phrase to eliminate contestants from "The Apprentice," complete strangers have been greeting him with: "Hey Donald -- you're fired!"

It's happened even when he was walking in his own posh Palm Beach neighborhood.

"Donald never really had to worry about hearing an angry boss shout, 'You're fired!'" a pal told The ENQUIRER.

"The irony is, now that he's considered one of the most successful businessmen in the world, Donald is getting 'fired!' up to a dozen times a day -- right on the street by ordinary folks!

"One day, he was walking in ritzy Palm Beach and an older gentleman in a Rolls-Royce drove by real slow and shouted out the window, 'Hey, Donald!' It immediately got his attention, so when he turned to look, the driver shouted, 'You're fired!'

"The driver of the car got such a kick out of that, Donald could hear him giggling halfway down the street! And Donald got a laugh out of it, too!

"Donald's been 'fired!' by people in all walks of life -- messengers, secretaries, stockbrokers, lawyers and cab drivers.

"He was even 'fired!' by a garbage man one day!

"A lot of people would get annoyed by being 'fired!' that many times a day -- but not Donald. He's got a terrific sense of humor."

-- RUCK EGUSQUIZA AND CINDY SOLOMON