Wal-mart employees receive death threats after stopping Marine vet from standing inside

Wal-mart started receiving a flood of phone calls and death threats from people around the country, who were outraged over the store’s response to a Marine vet who got stuck out in the cold.

John Harkness was collecting money for Toys for Tots last weekend when temps dropped to 40 degrees in Medina, Ohio.  He asked if he could seek shelter inside, but the store manager refused to let him in.

John told WKYC he never imagined he would get so much attention after he told a woman what happened and she shared his story on social media. The post included a photo and caption that read, “He can bleed and die but not stand inside.” It’s now been shared more than 30,000 times.

Marine stands outside walmart
John Harkness standing outside Wal-Mart. Photo credit: Facebook

Robin Wright, the Walmart store manager, who was called out in the Facebook post met with John and his wife at the Toys for Tots warehouse on Monday.

“I wanted them to know, from me, that I would never be disrespectful in any way, and I wanted them to hear that from me personally,” said Wright. “We have had some great conversations.”

Despite what happened over the weekend, John said he would come back and do this again no matter what the weather is like– because it’s for the kids.

“If we are invited back and the snow is three feet deep and it is five degrees,” said John. “I will stand outside all day. Once a Marine, always a Marine. No matter what the conditions, the obstacles, we will accomplish the mission.”

A Walmart regional manager says while they don’t let people ask for money inside the store, they do allow them  to come in to get warm.

Wright says she is now working on ways to better handle situations like this if they come up again next year.

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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