Thomas Smith didn’t always make good choices. An ex-convict, he served hard time in the penitentiary for armed robbery of a bank to support his drug habit. After his release from prison in May, Smith made a good faith effort to turn his life around. He recently obtained a $9-an-hour job at the East Greenwich, New York Wal-Mart, retrieving shopping carts from the parking lot.
As he gathered the carts, Smith would, as instructed, remove the trash left behind in the carts. Occasionally, there would be glass bottles or aluminum cans amidst the trash, which Smith would recycle for the spare change they provided. Smith enjoyed his job for the fresh start it was giving him and was, by all accounts, a good employee. However, a few weeks before completing his 90-day probationary period, Thomas Smith was fired.
On November 6, after working 3 hours past his normal shift because the store was shorthanded, Smith was called into the security office. After being interrogated by a manager and two security staff members, he was told that surveillance cameras caught him redeeming the cans and bottles at the store. Store managers demanded Smith turn in his badge and pay back the $5.10 he “stole.”
The reason? The trash was Wal-Mart property.
So Wal-Mart, the same company that holds in-store food drives to feed its employees who can’t afford a holiday dinner on the pitiful wages they make, would rather an employee throw away recyclable and redeemable trash left in carts than cash it in for money.
The Center for Law and Justice in Albany took up Smith’s case with store managers, but the big box conglomerate proved to be as heartless as previously imagined, refusing to reinstate Smith to his job. Having been homeless for months before receiving rooming house rental assistance from the Homeless and Travelers Aid Society, Thomas Smith now worries about his future, including providing Christmas for his two teenage children.
Smith, who promised after prison to live his life the “right way”, dutifully made the one-hour bus trip from his rooming house back to the store that fired him to return the $5.10 he allegedly stole from the not-rich-enough Waltons.
A GoFundMe site was set up for Smith, and the Center for Law and Justice is also accepting donations on his behalf.
Just when you think the selfish bastards at Wal-Mart couldn’t get any worse, they raise that bar a little higher (or in this case, a LOT lower). Let’s watch a local news report about the story.
Featured image courtesy of Sodahead.