Walmart Local Greeter With Cerebral Palsy Licensed Due To Policy Change


by Keaton Thomas, KATU News

John Combs and his sister Rachel Wasser. Combs, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is fired from his job at Walmart. (Photo KATU)

When you enter the Walmart near Mill Plain and 192nd Avenue to the southeast, you will probably be greeted by John Combs.

"Welcome to Walmart," he says.

Last week, Combs learned that he was being laid off. His job, People Greeter, was being reclassified. The Combs family says its last day will be April 25th.

Combs has been working at Walmart for two and a half years. His family said the work was perfect for Combs, with cerebral palsy and wheelchair-related.

"We have been devastated – one more shot to take," said Rachel Wasser, her sister and legal guardian.

Combs says that he loves his job. He does not want a new one.

"I'm part of my family," he said.

"It's all for him – it's his livelihood – it's his rent," Wasser said. "It's good for him, it gives him a goal, he's a very motivated guy."

According to his family, Combs has improved his language and social skills since joining Walmart. He has more confidence too.

Wasser said they hoped Walmart would find a way to keep Combs on staff. She says it would be difficult for them to find another job.

"Are there so many relationships developed there that give him a sense of community, otherwise, when people in John's position are isolated, [it] leads to a life not happy, "said Wasser.

When asked what Combs would say to the CEO of Walmart, he replied, "I'm doing a good job."

A Walmart spokesman told KATU News that he was reclassifying the caretaker role as a customer host, which includes more compensation and accountability. According to Walmart, the customer's hosts greet customers as soon as they arrive and keep the front "clean, safe and secure".

"We recognize that it is a unique situation and that it will take time to explore the possible solutions," said Kory Lundberg, Walmart spokesman. "While we are phasing out the home-keeper role of this store over a 60-day period, our local store management and human resources teams will be in regular contact with associates to explore all the available options. "

Wasser said that they had asked for more information at Walmart, but that they had not heard anything since Monday.


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