CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Jay Melton lives with cerebral palsy and can’t walk without assistance. He also has worked as a greeter at the Walmart in Marion for almost 17 years.
Along with watching Carolina basketball and going to church, Jay’s father says his son loves working as a greeter at Walmart.
However, when Walmart moved to phase out its familiar blue-vested “greeters” at some 1,000 stores nationwide, Jay’s job and future with the company was immediately questioned.
According to a petition with more than 18,000 signatures to keep Jay’s job at Walmart, Jay could “soon lose his job when the changes go into effect.”
Walmart told greeters around the country last week that their positions would be eliminated on April 26 in favor of an expanded, more physically demanding “customer host” role. To qualify, they will need to be able to lift 25-pound packages, climb ladders and stand for long periods.
Melton cannot handle that type of workload.
Greeters with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other physical disabilities are nervous about losing their jobs across the country.
Now Walmart, America’s largest private employer, is facing a backlash as customers rally around some of the chain’s most highly visible employees.
After the Walmart in Marion, NC saw the petition and the outpouring of support from the community, they announced on Facebook that Jay has accepted a position as a Self-Checkout Host. The move has saved his job.
In the post, Walmart Marion said they were “so excited to announce that Jay has accepted a position as a Self-Checkout Host. Jay has been a part of our store for the last 17 years and is well known throughout our community. Please help us congratulate Jay on his new position!”
And the community responded.
As of Friday afternoon, the post was shared 3,000 times.
Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart’s U.S. stores, said in a memo to store managers Thursday night that “we are taking some specific steps to support” greeters with disabilities. Walmart released the memo publicly.