A Medina, Ohio Walmart is involved in controversy after a 69 year old United States Marine veteran was photographed standing outside in the cold while soliciting for Toys for Tots. The new store manager said she was “just following the rules.”
In previous years, the store had allowed the Marine Corps reservists to stand inside the store during the cold Holiday season. But not this year. The person who posted this on Facebook said she gave the man in the photograph a cup of hot coffee.
The new manager, Robin Wright, put a halt to the practice of anyone coming inside to solicit, as per Walmart policy.
The company sent this statement to local media:
“If a Marine or anyone was treated with disrespect, that is unacceptable and we are looking into this matter further to get the facts. Walmart’s corporate policy across our more than 4,500 stores does not allow this type of solicitation inside our stores and we apologize for any confusion about this policy. Most importantly, we are proud to support wonderful organizations like Toys for Tots, Girls and Boys Scouts, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross who are stationed outside our stores during the holidays and other times. Finally, Walmart’s support of our men and women in uniform both during active service and when they return home is a privilege that we strive to honor each day through our commitment to hiring hundreds of thousands of Veterans as well as the many charitable Veteran organizations we are proud to support.”
Their definition of “support” apparently does not include keeping the Marines from freezing outside.
“It was so cold that your knees don’t want to bend when you try to walk, and when you get home, even a hot shower doesn’t not warm you. It took wrapping up in an electric blanket to try and defrost that night.” Lynn Harkness, Toys for Tots Coordinator
Locally where I live, the Marines have always stood just inside the doors with their bins for toys. I understand ‘company policy,’ but sometimes people should bend the rules. There is plenty of room inside most Walmarts to accommodate a couple of men and a big box. But, United States Marines are tough – they can handle whatever comes their way.
“He can bleed, he can die, but he can’t stand inside.”