A man with cerebral palsy who has worked as a Walmart greeter for 10 years was told recently that his job description has changed, and he’ll soon be required to agree to a new set of physical demands he’s not capable of. Now he fears he’ll lose his job.
Adam Catlin adores his job at a Walmart in Middleburg, Pa., and it shows. “Walmart is his heart,” said his sister, Amber Piermattei, to ABC affiliate WNEP. “His job is his driving force in life.”
Even customers attest to the fact that Catlin is an asset to the community in his role as a Walmart greeter. “He’s just a real good kid with a good attitude, and everyone enjoys seeing him,” said patron Stacie Camp. “If you’re having a bad day, you go in there. He makes your day,” added shopper Shannon Walters. “We go in every week, and I look forward to seeing him.”
Catlin got the stressful news that his job would be in jeopardy on Saturday, when his manager told him that due to a companywide change in policy in which “people greeters” will soon become “customer hosts,” he would soon be required to stand for the duration of his eight-hour shift and that he’d have to lift up to 25 pounds.
But cerebral palsy limits Catlin’s strength and range of motion — plus he relies on a walker. “I can’t lift 25 pounds and hang on to a walker. I need to be able to walk,” he said to the Daily Item.
“I understand that corporate policies change, so if they want to make this change, that’s fine,” Piermattei said of her brother’s place of employment. “But I think they should grandfather him in. He’s been there for 10 years.”
Catlin said he has until April 26 to officially comply or he will no longer have a job. “I’m not going to be able to do that,” he told WNEP.
On Monday, Catlin’s mother, Holly, posted a message about the situation — in her own words — on Facebook. She noted that because of Catlin’s disability, he’s always had the option to stay home and collect disability benefits but that he chooses to work.
“Adam loves his job so much and does it with his whole heart. He looks forward to you and your families, especially your kiddos,” she wrote. “He seems to know them all by name. He has always, always, had outstanding reviews and truly loves his work family, coworkers and all of management alike.” His mom said she was “sad and sickened” by the news, and that it’s a “huge blow” to her son.
The post went viral and was shared more than 7,500 times. Support also came flooding in via hundreds of comments. Some hope Catlin is able to keep his job in some capacity, even if he performs different duties at Walmart. Others demand the company reconsider its decision. “This not only angers me, but totally disgusts me that Corporate would be so insensitive to this young man!” one person wrote. “Think someone needs to start a Petition … I’ll sign it!,” another added.
When contacted by Yahoo Lifestyle, a spokesperson for Walmart shared this statement:
“More than two years ago we started a program in more than 1,000 stores using customer hosts to staff entrances. Customer Hosts give customers a welcome as they enter our stores and keep the front clean, safe and secure.
Over the last two years we’ve continued to expand this program and introduce more customer host roles in our stores, adding more responsibility and pay to the traditional People Greeter role.
We’re committed to always providing our customers with a positive and safe shopping experience, and we know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to staffing our entrances and serving customers. We look at the data from each store individually to structure the appropriate door coverage.
As we have done in other locations where we’ve added Customer Hosts, our management team will continue to support our associates as they consider other open positions in the store and those in nearby locations.”
For Caitlin and his family, another job is not the answer because he really likes the one he has proudly worked at for a decade. “I love everyone there and they are all part of my family and I would really miss that,” Catlint old the Daily Item. His sister added, “Even if he doesn’t get his job back, it’s important we’re raising awareness about this.”