The Medina community in Ohio expressed outrage when the local Walmart forced former active duty Marine John Harkness to stand outside to collect Toys for Tots donations for the first time in fifteen years.
“They made us stay outside,” explained Harkness. “We’re there to collect toys for children that need a Christmas.”
This weekend was rainy and cold, but the manager still kept Harkness outside.
“I just said, why can’t they put you inside? This is crap,” said shopper Mary Murdock. “It takes two seconds to do the right thing when it’s cold and rainy and holiday season. You can put them in there.”
Walmart told the local media it is their policy not to allow solicitation inside its stores.
“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,” said a spokesman. “If a Marine or anyone was treated with disrespect, that is unacceptable and we are looking into this matter further to get the facts.”
The manager at the Medina Walmart is new, so it appears the previous manager went against store policy.
“We have the Auxiliary and the Marines helping,” stated Lynn Harkness, the Toys for Tots Coordinator in Medina County. “They are in their 60s most of them and on up. A couple of the Marines have had cancer surgery and their health isn’t the best; being out in the bad weather could damage their health.”