A veteran was left out to dry at a Walmart — only to get soaking wet — and Twitter is angry.
On Friday, Vietnam vet Manuel Griffin was raising money for fellow veterans outside a Walmart in Dickson City, Pa. When it started to rain, according to a Facebook post, the store manager declined his request to sit closer to the store for protection. A photo captured the 69-year-old sitting in his uniform in the rain.
As his wife, Maryann, explained on Facebook (in a post that has been removed as of Tuesday), Griffin has done the same kind of fundraising every May for more than two decades — although never before at this particular Walmart, a store rep tells Yahoo Lifestyle. In the past, at the other locations, he was allowed to set up under cover in inclement weather, but not this time. “Way to go Walmart,” she wrote —“commendable way to treat our veterans who fought for your freedom…..Disgrace!”
The photo has been shared almost 6,000 times, and it has almost 3,000 very supportive comments. “WOW that just isn’t right. I am sorry. Thank you both for your service, as families serve too!” one person responded. Many people are expressing their distaste at Walmart’s decision. “I will never forget what our Servicemen did for us. Shame on you Wal-Mart,” someone wrote. “The same reason why Wal-Mart sells items from foreign countries along with the USA made products. They don’t give a rat’s ass about this country,” said another angry shopper. “Now I no why Wal-Mart was never my fav place,” someone else commented. “Just another reason we NEVER shop at Wal-Mart! Wal-Mart should be ashamed of themselves to show such disrespect!”
The Walmart spokesperson provided the following official statement to Yahoo Lifestyle: “We have tremendous respect for our nation’s veterans. We apologize for any misunderstanding, and our store leadership is donating canopies to the local Dickson City, Pa., Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion for their use going forward.”
Why couldn’t this American hero have sat closer to the store to begin with? A manager from Walmart told a local news station that the store had implemented a “safety policy” about two years ago that requires those collecting money to be 15 feet from the doorway.
But the dedicated man didn’t let a little rain dampen his ambitions. “He is going to do what he has to do for his [Veterans of Foreign Wars], and he wants to make sure he is representing them the same way we did when we wore the uniform,” Griffin’s friend David Ragan told Newswatch 16.
He even returned the next day, in the sun, to continue taking donations, not allowing Walmart’s rules to get to him. And it seems it was worth it, as many people stopped to donate that day, according to Newswatch 16.
HAPPY ENDING: Walmart followed through and put a canopy up outside for veterans in Dickson City.
Original Story: After Photo of Veteran Sitting in the Rain Goes Viral, Walmart Makes Amends https://t.co/IAYd0BCJwF @WNEP pic.twitter.com/TAv33fmsiF
— Allen Vickers (@AllenWNEP) May 6, 2018
Griffin’s return the next day also gave the retailer a chance to make things right. Ragan spoke to the store manager on Griffin’s behalf, and they came to an agreement that Walmart would provide veterans with an inclement-weather canopy, which was produced the next day. “Happy Ending,” tweeted a local WNEP reporter, with a photo for proof.
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