The community outcry in Marion, North Carolina, to stop Walmart from firing a store greeter with cerebral palsy might have worked better than anticipated.
Walmart announced on Facebook that greeter Jay Melton is not only keeping a job at the store, but is getting an elevated role at the checkout counter.
“We are so excited to announce that Jay has accepted a position as a Self-Checkout Host,” said the store’s post late Thursday.
“Jay has been a part of our store for the last 17 years and is well known throughout our community,” it reads. “Please help us congratulate Jay on his new position!”
As of Friday morning, nearly 18,000 people signed a petition opposing the store’s decision to do away with the well-known store “greeter” position in favor of new “customer hosts.”
Melton is unable to stand and would not be able to handle the new role, which would require him to “clean up spills, collect carts and stand for long periods of time, among other things,” reported NPR.
When news spread that Melton, who uses a wheelchair, would lose his job, a grassroots movement formed to convince the store to let him stay.
USA Today wrote about the movement and reported similar efforts had popped up elsewhere in the country, all involving Walmart employees with disabilities who were to lose their jobs in late April.
Walmart’s decision to keep Melton at the store prompted more than 750 comments and 2,500 shares in just 10 hours.
“So happy for Jay! It’s unfortunate it took petitions, news articles, and tons of negative backlash for Walmart to come to this decision. This move should have came before any of this happened,” commented Jimmy and Samantha Evers on Facebook.
“This makes me happier than words can express,” posted Cynthia Nettles on Facebook. “Thank you so much, Wal-Mart of Marion, for appreciating Jay and what’s important to our community.”
“I am so happy Wal-Mart done the right thing by letting Jay stay,” posted Megan Alicia Pitman. “But I hope the others that worked the doors that ain’t able to do all the new things they want them to do is able to stay.”