Almost everyone who trades at Walmart in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, knows the store greeting Adam Catlin, who has been against customers with a big smile and a hearty hello for more than a decade.
But Catlin, who has cerebral palsy, fears he will soon be out of work after the store manager told him his job description changed – and will now include tasks that he cannot physically do.
"It was a shock," Catlin, 30, said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "I never saw it."
Nor did Catlin's family. They say that Walmart acts heartlessly against one of his most dedicated workers. Walmart says it hopes to keep him in the store.
Catlin has earned in the traditional "folk greeter" role over the past ten years after graduating from high school. However, at many Walmart sites, the job has become morphing into the "customer host" since 201
"I wouldn't be able to," he said.
Catlin's plague became public after her mother, Holly Catlin, wrote about it on Facebook on Monday night. Her posts have been divided thousands of times, with long-term customers and strangers expressing the dealership.
Some have even come up with GoFundMe plans, plots and ideas, but Holly and her family have denied donations in a Facebook post, says that Catlin's situation does not put a financial strain on his family.
"If they are to give money, we would rather get them to save it to someone who has financial needs. We want them to give it to someone who can really use it instead of us," Adam's sister, Amber Piermattei, so.
Catlin's middle sister also died of a heart attack just six weeks ago in late December, says Piermattei, making this a tough time for the family.
Catlin works in eight hours a day, 32 hours a week on site. He is so connected with Selinsgrove Walmart that he cuts the tape in the store's great re-opening and is often recognized when he is out and about.
"Everyone loves him. He just lights up the whole place like a full moon," he said. Walmart shopper Ellen English, 51. "They can't make it to Adam."
Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg called Catlin a "valued member of the team and part of what makes our Selinsgrove store special." In a statement on Wednesday, he said Walmart "is looking for a solution that keeps him in the store."
Under federal law, employers must provide affordable accommodation to workers with disabilities. The law requires an "interactive process" between the employer and employee to evaluate requests to be accommodated. Caitlin's family said a Walmart business manager, a human relations manager and a company headquarters official, said Wednesday afternoon to discuss the situation. Catlin's sister Catmattei said, however, that they had no suggestions on how to move forward.
"This job is his most important in life, it's his impetus, that's his heart," Piermattei said. "It just gives him self-worth to get up and beat that clock like everyone else and be in the community … He is dedicated to this place and for them to just sweep him out the door because he has different abilities, I think is a shame. "
" I just want my job back "
Catlin is not the first Walmart greeter with disability affected by the transition to the customer host. In 2016, wheelchair-based Danny Ockenhouse said he lost his greeter role at a Walmart in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, because he couldn't keep up with the recent physical demands of the job.
"I just want my jobs back and I will be appreciated," Ockenhouse, who had worked there for 21 years, said. He ended up getting a departure package.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, meanwhile, has filed numerous lawsuits against Walmart over the years over the treatment of workers with disabilities. Walmart has said that it does not tolerate discrimination.
Piermattei said the brother loves his job so much that he does not like to pay holiday – to Catlin, it is cheating on the company. Having had a heart attack a few years back, Catlin told doctors in the ICU that he needed to be released from the hospital in the morning so that he could make it work. Piermattei said her brother is still working on the shift this week.
"What I want is to be greeter, and to be able to sit down and do my job," Catlin said. "I hope everything goes out."