Local News

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

Posted June 21, 2007 6:25 p.m. EDT
Updated June 21, 2007 9:24 p.m. EDT

— 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.