Outrageous Photo: Toy-Collecting Marine Forced to Stand Outside Walmart
A photo is sparking outrage after an Ohio Walmart forced a Marine veteran who was collecting donations for children to stand outside in cold rainy weather.
69-year-old John Harkness had been collecting toys and money for the Toys for Tots program, as he'd been doing for the past 15 years.
Until this year, he'd always been allowed to do this inside the store, but a new manager told him it was against store policy.
Harkness said that he couldn't blame the manager for doing her job, but that being tossed out came as a shock.
"We have been been told we could be in the store and then all of a sudden we were told to get out," he said.
Thousands of people have shared the picture of Harkness standing outside the Medina Walmart, and many have left comments saying it was disrespectful toward the Marine and that they would not be shopping at the store again.
The company issued a statement saying it's looking into the matter:
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 4500 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 andwomen 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.