A Walmart employee in New York was in the parking lot of the store when he stumbled upon a fat wad of cash lying on the ground and picked it up. Wanting to do the right thing, he then brought it inside and turned it over to the store’s management, but when he did, he received absolutely awful news.
Michael Walsh has been an employee of Walmart for 18 years, and he currently works as a maintenance man at the Niskayuna location outside of Albany. According to the Times Union, Walsh found $350 in the store’s parking lot while he was conducting his regular duties of collecting stray shopping carts and picking up trash. When he brought it to management, he was fired. Isn’t that something?
Apparently, he had originally found a $5 bill on the ground and immediately brought it inside to turn it in. When he went back out, he found another $350 that wasn’t in an envelope and consisted of $10 and $20 bills, but rather than immediately turn it in, he finished his task then went inside. That’s where the problem arose.
“The only thing I did wrong was hesitate,” Walsh said, who is 45. “I didn’t steal anything. They didn’t give me any warning. They just fired me.”
On the day he found the money, Walsh said that when he went back into the store, a woman was causing a commotion at the front desk, and he overheard her saying something about losing money. He didn’t want to cause an issue, so he went and cleaned a bathroom before turning the money into his manager – 30 minutes after he found it.
He didn’t hear anything more about it until two days later when they called Walsh into the office. His manager showed him the surveillance tapes, then dropped the life-changing bomb on him – he was fired for “gross misconduct.”
“They didn’t let me explain and said they knew what happened. They told me how it happened in a way they wanted it to go,” said Walsh, who was forced to sign a statement but wasn’t given a copy of it.
Ironically, Walsh was fired on the same day that 52-year-old Thomas Smith was fired from a Walmart in East Greenbush, which is only 20 minutes from Niskayuna, after he was caught redeeming $2 worth of cans he found in the parking lot.
Smith has since found another job, but so far, Walsh has been unable to find a new employer, and there’s little hope of him getting his job back. The worst part is he still doesn’t understand why he was let go.
“I got scared and didn’t go about returning the money in the right way,” he said. “I told them I was sorry. I thought they would have given me a warning or suspended me. Instead, they just fired me.”
While I would understand terminating someone if they had taken the money or otherwise been dishonest about the situation, Walsh’s firing seems entirely too heavy-handed given the circumstances. He found the money, he turned the money in, but because he didn’t do it fast enough, he lost his job? That’s not any way to treat someone who’s been with the same company for 18 years.