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Disabled Man Denied Access to Wal-Mart's Electric Wheelchair

Posted June 21, 2007

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— A disabled veteran from Halifax County said he was twice denied access to an electronic wheelchair at a Wal-Mart in Roanoke Rapids recently.

Thomas Young lost his leg to diabetes six months ago. He has been adjusting to life without it. Simple things like shopping at Wal-Mart can be difficult, Young said, but nothing prepared him for what happened at the store Sunday.

“I just come up here on Father’s Day to get a few things, do a favor for the wife,” Young said. “The grandson had come along, and I sent the grandson in to pick up the electric cart.”

Young’s grandson, Zach Shumaker, said when he went to retrieve the cart and bring it to his grandfather, store officials told him it was against store policy.

Young said his wife then called the store manager, who apologized and said that was just not true. The manager said Young could come back anytime and get a cart.

After the apology, Young and his grandson returned to Wal-Mart the next day. When Shumaker tried again to take the cart to his grandfather, store officials told him he was not able to get the cart past the pylons, Young said.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson said the scooters are there to help people like Young, but the rule is that they can leave the store only if accompanied by store personnel. Company officials said they are looking into why that didn’t happen in this case.

“I thought they should have made at least the manager come out to the truck and talk to me while I was still sitting in the vehicle,” Young said. “It would have made it much easier to swallow.”

Young said he is writing a letter to Wal-Mart's corporate headquarters, but said he has no intentions of filing a lawsuit.

The company apologized again Thursday and said it’s their goal to provide a motorized cart for everyone who needs one.

132 Comments

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  • joeguard72 Jun 23, 2007

    Shame on them...Vet or not that "Wally World" needs to get a grip concerning disabled persons or get it's pants sued, at the least, the manager for that site should be looking for a new job for allowing it to happen at his/her account!!!!!!!

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Jun 23, 2007

    I believe the family members should chip in and get Thomas Young a motorized wheelchair. That way he would not be dependent on the store's intelligence in providing him a motorized cart.

  • lizard Jun 23, 2007

    This is really not worth the attention it is getting. I indicated that in my first comment two days ago with sarcasm. Of course my comment was deleted or reported as abuse. Doesn't matter to me but this is really not important.

  • JazandUs Jun 22, 2007

    In a reply to NC_Net's post. We happen to know Mr. Young personally and would like to clarify a few things. First he was in his wife's car that day and he did park in a handicap area. When his grandson went in that Sunday he showed the Wal-Mart associate the car and requested assistance. Second Mrs. Young did tell the store manager on Sunday that her husband would be back the next day. The manager instructed her to have her grandson or anyone else with Mr. Young request a manager to assist them if they had any problems. Third, this interview with Mr. Young was filmed three days later across the street from Wal-Mart. I can see how people can make judgements when they only know half the story. However, we happen to know the whole story and would like everyone else to know it as well. Furthermore...was it ever given any thought that his wheelchair could have been broken. Also, why does Wal-Mart offer these carts if they pick and choose who they will let have them?

  • prideinusa4evr Jun 22, 2007

    I feel terrible that this person was treated so badly, but do believe there are some legitimate questions about the circumstances. Nevertheless, I would hope management learned something from this experience. I have to say that the person who said it was more about the community the store is in and the people they hired then anything else. I have only had 1 bad experience in a Walmart store anywhere (other than long lines) and I complained to the management and they responded that they had a hard time hiring qualified people in that area. But overall, I have no real complaints about Walmart's service and I think they fill a need in the hiring world as my son for one was able to get a job there at the bottom and move up until he found a good job with another company. It is a good entry place for young people if they are willing to work hard and do a good job.

  • bassplayermike Jun 22, 2007

    I guess this is a perfect reason for everyone to boycott Wal-Mart for a day. Target can use our business. This man is a fellow Veteran and how must his grandson look at our system now.

  • NC_VET Jun 22, 2007

    Hey People did anyone notice he parked in general parking area
    of Wal Mart? Where is his Handicapped Tag/Sticker? Why didn't
    he park in a Handicapped parking area? He has a wheel chair if you didn't notice the wheelchair hauler on the back of his truck. Why didn't he bring his own chair? If you noticed one
    thing about the story why didn't the wife call back the next
    day and tell the manager her husband was coming back? The film
    was NOT shot on the same day as the incident thats for sure,
    as WRAL had to have a few days notice to get a crew to Store. Everyone screams file suit, file suit, if you think Target is in business for anyone but themselves go read this about Target; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Target_Corporation

    Target is not different than Wal Mart and if the same guy would go to a Target store the same thing would happen there.

  • no.ral.old guy Jun 22, 2007

    Not filing a lawsuit. Here's a class act that very few people can follow. Especially that idiot "Judge" that's suing for millions cause a cleaners lost his pants

  • NCMOMof3 Jun 22, 2007

    don't blame the corporation, blame the people more. No one is interested in customer service these days

  • Juliett Jun 22, 2007

    Rev, I worked at Sams Club. We were always told if we didn't like our job, they had people beating the doors down wanting to get hired. At night, they turned the air conditioning off in the summer, they turned the heat off in the winter, if you went over 37 1'2 hours a week, you had to punch out and sit and wait for the morning manager to come. See, we were locked in overnight at Sams. Happened to me once, I had to punch out and wait 3 hours before I could leave. I usually side with the lawsuits against Walmart because I've been there and know how they treat their employees. I always heard though that it wasn't that way before Sam Walton died, I heard he was good to his employees, it's his heirs that aren't. I just wanted to tell you that I agree with what you said.

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