An Ohio location of the discount store chain Walmart created community outrage when it changed its policy and ordered a U.S. Marine veteran to stand outside to collect toys and money for the annual “Toys for Tots” campaign.
For the nearly previous 15 years, the Marines were allowed to perform their collection efforts inside the store, according to local news channel WALB.
“They made us stay outside,” former active duty Marine John Harkness said. “We’re there to collect toys for children that need a Christmas.”
Observing him standing out in the bitter cold infuriated shopper Mary Murdock.
“I just said, why can’t they put you inside? This is crap,” Murdock said.
A Walmart spokesman said it’s company posicy.
“Walmart’s corporate policy across our more than 4500 stores does not allow this type of solicitation inside our stores and we apologize for any confusion about this policy,” it told the station.
The spokesman went on to say that if the store’s previous management allowed the Marines to set up inside the store, it broke this long-standing policy. But that doesn’t make the policy right. Ohio, after all, isn’t exactly South Florida.
“It takes two seconds to do the right thing when it’s cold and rainy and holiday season. You can put them in there,” said Murdock.
Walmart added, “If a Marine or anyone was treated with disrespect, that is unacceptable and we are looking into this matter further to get the facts.”
In the meantime, as Harkness maintains his vigil outside the store, he’s getting lots of support from total strangers in the form of hot coffee, sandwiches, or even just a thumbs up.
“It’s encouraging,” he said. “It’s fantastic. It’s good to have the general public, Vets and non-vets support you.”
Let’s just hope Walmart comes to its senses and does the same.
Watch the news clip via WALB.
Social media around the country picked up on the news showed their patriotism by sticking up for the Marines.
— Onebig Hairydawg (@Leistunghund) November 30, 2015
I have to vent. I just saw a marine standing outside Walmart in Ohio collecting for Toys For Tots in the rain because that manager would
— Monye Weiner (@MonyeWeiner) November 29, 2015
Well, Walmart, the ball’s in your court now. What’re you going to do with it?
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