While shopping at Walmart, a man walked up to a female employee with a request. She immediately took the man’s arm and led him down an empty aisle, not realizing another shopper was following them. When the stunned shopper saw what the pair was doing, she pulled out her phone and quickly snapped a photo.
Brittany Walton was busy doing her job behind the customer service counter at a Walmart Supercenter when she was interrupted by another associate. When Walton was told a man needed some help with his shopping, she didn’t hesitate to leave her post. As soon as she heard the man was blind, she knew what she was going to do, never imagining she would catch someone’s attention, let alone be caught in a photograph that captured what she did.
Meghann Shaw happened to be in the Biloxi Walmart that same day, and unbeknownst to Walton, she came up behind her while she was with the man in an aisle all alone. Meghann soon noticed that the man was blind, and seeing Walton’s hand on his arm, she realized exactly what was going on and quickly pulled out her camera. The photo she captured and the sentiments she shared on social media soon went viral.
“I’ve been trying to place the right words into this post for a little while now,” Shaw began as she shared the post to Facebook. Explaining that she was in the Biloxi Walmart to pick up a prescription, she continued, “I noticed a store associate and an elderly blind man walking hand in hand.”
Then, Shaw revealed what the woman was doing and what the sight meant to her that day. “She escorted him throughout the store,” Shaw wrote. “With all the hate in the world, she gave love. Without the man seeing her, she showed him pure compassion and love. Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Soon, Shaw’s post captured the attention of her friends. Then, one encouraged her to make the post public so they could share it. “As soon as I hit public,” Shaw said, “it was share after share.” As the post began to go viral, someone tagged Walton, and the photo soon caught the attention of various news outlets, which reached out to Walton to learn more about the day she was captured on camera with the customer she calls “Mr. Roy.”
“I asked another associate to take my spot because I just felt the need to help him,” a soft-spoken, 31-year-old Walton said. “I’m so glad I did,” she added, referring to what turned out to be a two-hour walk through Walmart, holding hands, talking, and shopping with Mr. Roy.
The post was eventually shared by none other than Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, who commended Walton for “excellence in customer service” in a public Facebook post.
“I didn’t think it would reach this far,” Walton, a single mother of three, said. “But I’m glad it has. No matter what color you are or what your position is, there’s always someone there to lend a hand.” Speaking of hands, taking a customer’s isn’t something Walton would normally do, but, “I wanted him to feel safe with me,” she said. “I wanted him to feel love and compassion. I wanted him to feel it was all about him.”
Mr. Roy was new in town, and Walton could tell he needed someone to talk to. He told her he was blinded in an automobile accident when he was just 26 years old. He also revealed that he had a crush on a woman who is also legally blind, and he wanted to buy her a mug for her cocoa. He said, “It has to be pretty, even though we can’t see.”
So, Walton picked out a cream and gold mug, ensuring Mr. Roy that it was indeed very pretty. “I told Mr. Roy that whenever he comes back, I would help him. He was such a sweet guy,” Walton said.
Store manager Anthony Chisesi said superior customer service is built into Walmart’s culture. Sales associates “take ownership,” helping any disabled person who asks, he said, according to The Miami Herald. “I think it’s rewarding for them,” he added. “I’ve never had a problem finding a volunteer who would assist a disabled person with shopping. The beautiful thing is, when people do things like this, they’re not doing it for attention. They’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do.”
Although a kind culture of superior customer service might be an employer’s expectation, we all know that not every employee lives up to it. Walton did that day, taking her time with Mr. Roy to not only help him but lend an ear and show him love and acceptance. Hopefully, Walton’s simple act of kindness will inspire others who see it — not just employees who are given an opportunity to go above and beyond but people everywhere.