About at that moment, another sales associate showed up behind her. “She can’t accept that,” she chimed in.
Okay. Hm. I get it. I get that there have to be rules. I get that there have to be policies to protect the integrity of your workforce. I get that it is your prerogative to make whatever rules you like.
Which is why I finally gave up offering my gift.
Oh, I pushed and attempted multiple times. “It is just a gift, from one human to another.” That didn’t matter. “What if I give you a card in an envelope and you have no idea what’s inside,” I asked her. Again, she shook her head.
But see, she needed what I was trying to give her. The things she said, and the way she replied, was enough to tell me that. At one point she said, “if you had met me in the parking lot then it really could have helped me.” She wanted so badly to accept it. A couple hundred bucks to her could have really made a difference in her life right then. But, rules were rules. And eventually I gave up.
I started to leave the store, but it did not sit right with me. I mean… if I see another human being in need, and I feel compassion toward that human being, and then if I, a fellow human being, want to give her something to make her life just a little easier… Then I should be able to do that. As two human beings, it is a moment between us, and no one else. No one owns her, and no one owns me. Walmart, I repeat. You do not own this woman. You do not own her needs. You do not own her ability to accept kindness into her life. But, rules were rules. And this old woman felt strongly enough that she better keep the rules if she wanted to keep her job.
Without really thinking, I flagged down the Walmart greeter, a happy enough guy given the day it was. I asked if I could speak to a manager. He immediately radioed someone over. Within a minute or two, a dark-haired shorter woman approached and asked what I needed.
I told her that I know Walmart has rules about Employees accepting money or gifts, but that I felt a strong need to give a gift of two hundred dollars to the woman. “How do we make that happen?” I asked. I couldn’t believe what happened next.