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Former Walmart Employee Says He Was Fired for 'Trying to Help'

Kristopher Oswald, 30, stepped in to help a woman who was being harassed in the store's parking lot.

Kristopher Oswald, 30, a former Hartland Walmart employee stepped in to help a woman who was being harassed in the store's parking lot while he was on his lunch break.
Kristopher Oswald, 30, a former Hartland Walmart employee stepped in to help a woman who was being harassed in the store's parking lot while he was on his lunch break.

Kristopher Oswald was working the third shift at the Hartland Walmart last Sunday and was taking his lunch break in the store's parking lot when he saw a man and a women in a physical argument.

The 30-year-old Linden man did what he thought was right, and stepped in to help the woman. But Oswald said that decision caused him to lose his job at Walmart.

On Oct. 13, Oswald had been sitting in his car around 2:30 a.m. when he said he saw the first signs of trouble -- a car driving through the parking lot with a man lying across the hood

At first, he said he assumed it was just “dumb kids” being bored on a Saturday night, but as the scene unfolded, Oswald quickly realized that it wasn’t just a funny stunt, but something much more serious.

"She's trying to escape, I can tell," Oswald told Patch. "She's yelling at him and he's yelling at her."

And as he continued to watch, a physical altercation between the couple took place with the man physically grabbing the woman and pushing her into the car. Hearing her screams for help, Oswald said it was at that point he got out of his own car and walked towards the couple. 

“I’ve never ever done anything like that in my life,” Oswald said. “I just saw an opportunity and I saw that there wasn’t anyone else that could do anything, I just reacted. I had to, I had to do it.”

Oswald said his intention was try and verbally talk the man down and insist he leave the woman alone. 

"I looked right at her and said, 'Excuse me, do you really need help?' And she looked right at me and said, 'Oh my gosh yes, please help me.' And I just extended my hand," Oswald said.

It was his outreached arm that Oswald said the man grabbed and "ripped" towards him. Oswald said the man then punched him five or six times before his "fight or flight" reflexes kicked in and Oswald was able to get the man to the ground. After several more minutes of fighting, Oswald said he was then kicked and grabbed by two other men who knew the suspect.

On Oct. 15, after being called in for a work meeting, Oswald said he was given the news that he was terminated for violating company policy and escorted from the building. 

Brave act leads to termination

It was a shock and a disappointment, according to Oswald who was told the night before by his shift supervisor that while he was going to have to suspend Oswald, he thought his actions were “brave and selfless.”

“He (supervisor) told me flat out that he wanted to give me the opportunity to say my side and then they’ll made a decision,” he said. 

Oswald said he was never given that chance, however, and after being called into the meeting with his supervisor and manager, Oswald said he was given his termination papers. 

Patch has reached out to Walmart for a response to Oswald's story.

According to Oswald, the reason for his termination is written on his termination papers and reads: “After violation of company policy on his lunch break, it was determined to end his temporary assignment.”

With only seven weeks into his employment at Walmart, Oswald was still in his 180-day probation period with the company, which is considered to be a temporary assignment, he said.

While Oswald said he is upset with the store’s decision to terminate his employment, he stands by his own actions and the decision he made to step in to help

“This was never my intention -- I wasn’t walking into it looking for a fight,” he said. “But I have what it takes to do what’s right.”

Oswald said he would do it all over again.

"What I did, even though he escaped, it bought her time and she got away,” he said.

Phil Collins October 21, 2013 at 07:23 AM
Wal Mart does not want their employees standing up for anything because the next thing you know they might get the bright idea to Unionize.
Sean Smith October 21, 2013 at 08:59 AM
Well, I did quite a bit of Christmas shopping at Walmart for my children....it will all be going back later today. Shame on Walmart for terminating an employee that had the decency to stand up and help someone. I would certainly want this type of employee around when you have an out of control Tierney running loose. In an instance someone could have been fatally injured and I admire him for going to someones rescue (a wonderful Samaritan). In an ideal world yes, call 911 first but we don't live in that world. By the time 911 could have responded something horrible could have happened. Apparently, Kristopher was beat up by the delinquent and I wish he would press charges against the young man. Nothing would come of it most likely since he comes from a well connected family and some money....shame on you Walmart and shame on the young man that is probably laughing at this because he got out of another situation because of his name and money...... The good guy gets let go from a job he needs while the bad guy laughs it off, so sad.
Dennis October 21, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Its time to rid this country of this BS POLITICALLY CORRECT nonsense..The first step in doing that is rehiring this guy and FIRING the jerk manager..How does someone with no common sense have a leadership position?
jthall October 26, 2013 at 06:28 PM
As a small retailer, I have read and heard enough about WMs abhorrent practices, but this one is even more "special." I hope that everyone who has stated that they are through with 'em follows through and that sends a message to corporate that they can't ignore. Nice job Kristopher-you are the kind of employee I would be proud to have. This could be the best thing that ever happened to you. Good luck in the future.

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