A manager for a Walmart store in Dickson City, Pennsylvania, says that any persons selling non-Walmart items must be outside the building, about 15 feet from its entrance, according to a safety policy the store implemented two years ago.
This "safety policy" means that 69-year-old U.S. veteran Manuel Griffin was required to sit in the driving rain on Friday while selling his poppies to passers-by, but that's exactly what he did.
What happened here?
Griffin's wife, Maryann, taken aback by Walmart's treatment of the vet, shared her frustrations on Facebook.
Maryann shared the now-viral photo and wrote:
Today my husband set up his table to start selling Poppies for the month of May at Walmart in Dickson City Pa as he has been doing for over 20 yrs. to honor and assist our Veterans. In the past in inclement weather he was allowed to set up right outside the main entrance under cover from the weather. Today as it was pouring rain he was told he couldn’t stay at the protected area and that he would have to go out in the rain and 15 ft away from the building as per the store manager!
Way to go WALMART....commendable way to treat our veterans who fought for your freedom.....Disgrace!
When reached for comment, Maryann told TheBlaze, "Manuel is dedicated to helping veterans get what they deserve. He belongs to American Legions, VFWs, DAVs, Vietnam Vet Posts, honorary member of the local Marine Corp League. We have had an overwhelming response to my post."
Maryann has, indeed, received a massive response to her post, which garnered more than 5,000 likes and 5,000 shares on the social media platform.
Despite Manuel's experience Friday, he happily showed up to the same Walmart to sell his poppies Saturday, according to Maryann.
What happened then?
After Maryann's viral post, people came out in droves on Saturday to buy poppies from Manuel's table, according to WNEP-TV.
David Ragan, a friend of Manuel, told the station, "[Manuel] is going to do what he has to do for his VFW, and he wants to make sure he is representing them the same way we did when we wore the uniform."
Others told WNEP of their disappointment in the chain store.
"How you could make a gentleman who fought for our country and risk his life for our freedom sit in the rain while he is trying to sell something to remember those who went before him?" Beth Bonacci asked WNEP.
What is this Walmart doing now?
According to WNEP, Ragan spoke to the store's manager, who agreed to provide cover for inclement weather.
The Dickson City Walmart will reportedly offer a canopy for veterans going forward.
HAPPY ENDING: Walmart followed through and put a canopy up outside for veterans in Dickson City.
— Allen Vickers (@AllenWNEP) May 6, 2018