Oct. 18--HARTLAND TOWNSHIP -- -- Walmart has backtracked on the firing of a Good Samaritan employee for coming to the aid of a woman who was being attacked in a store parking lot.
Kristopher Oswald, 30, of Linden was fired for scuffling with a man who was attacking his former girlfriend. The story of his firing made nationwide news and caused a furor against Walmart on social media sites like Twitter.
"We took a step back and looked at all the information," said company spokeswoman Ashley Hardie. "We realize his intentions were good and we've reached out to him to offer him his job back and let him know that he's welcome back at the store."
Hardie said store officials left a message with Oswald but had not yet spoken to him in person.
Hardy said company policies are designed for the safety of everyone including employees and shoppers. She didn't know of any immediate plans to revisit them, but said all such incidents are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Oswald wasn't immediately available for reaction to the company's decision.
He said earlier today that he was taking a break from his $8.70 an hour overnight stocking job at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday when he rushed to help a woman in a confrontation in the parking lot of the Walmart where he works. He was sitting in his car when he saw a man clinging to the hood of a car as the driver attempted to shake him off by stopping and starting.
When the car stopped, the woman got out and the man on the hood grabbed her and pinned her up against the side of the vehicle as she screamed.
"I asked if she needed help," Oswald said. "She said 'Yes, please, help me.' "
By the time Oswald reached her, the man had gotten into the woman's car.
"I thought he was trying to steal her car," Oswald said.
When Oswald reached for the man through the open door, the man pulled Oswald inside and began pummeling him with punches.
As the two men wrestled to the ground, the woman got back in the car and drove off.
The man pulled the hood of Oswald's sweat shirt over his face and then two of the man's friends from another vehicle join the fray.
Oswald said six or seven of his co-workers eventually witnessed what was happening and rushed to help him.
The man who attacked Oswald got into another vehicle and chased the woman.
Oswald said he suffered only minor injuries in the attack. But the most startling thing came late Tuesday night when his managers summoned him to a meeting at the store.
Two assistant managers at the store shook his hand and told him they were proud of what he had done. But then they told him they were required to fire him.
The paperwork they handed him read "due to a violation of company policy on his lunch hour it was deemed appropriate to terminate his temporary assignment."
Oswald said he doesn't blame the assistant managers who gave him the news.
"This decision was passed down to them from above," he said.
Oswald, said he had fought "tooth and nail" for the job in his rural community, where jobs are scarce.
"There are like 50 people applying for every job," he said.
Livingston County Sheriff Bob Bezotte said deputies arrested the woman's former boyfriend, Dylan Tierney, 17, of Milford, Mich., for drunken driving, malicious destruction of property and domestic violence.
"If someone is getting assaulted, there's not a lot of time to think about it. I do appreciate the man coming to her assistance," Bezotte added. "We need more people who want to get involved. Law enforcement is only as successful as our people want us to be. For me, he did the right thing."
(c)2013 the Detroit Free Press
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Original headline: Walmart offers job back to worker fired for helping assaulted woman
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OCTOBER 30, 2014
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