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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, he said he saw the man physically grab the woman and push 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 to try and verbally talk the man down. 

"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.

Police were eventually called to the scene, but the suspect ran away before they got there.

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.

Anonymous User October 17, 2013 at 08:31 AM
Walmart S***&#. Give this guy a break and a promotion.
Diane Russom October 17, 2013 at 01:27 PM
This man did what was right and is being penalized for it. Just a sign of how wrong our society is. :-(
Karen Coghlan Moran October 17, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Walmart needs to reconsider/rehire.
Terry Minidis-Beernaert October 18, 2013 at 06:43 AM
WoW sounds so familiar, I had the same thing happen to me in June this year...only it was a woman slapping her child in front of me. I was a dedicated employee of this company for 5 1/2 years! I know what he feels like....
nana solem October 18, 2013 at 03:51 PM
WAL-MART AFTER MUCH CONSIDERATION YOUR FIRED BOYCOTT WAL-MART IT'S UN AMERICAN TO ALLOW SOMEONE TO BE ATTACKED AND NOT HELP Signed Mother of 9
Eddie Bond October 18, 2013 at 05:01 PM
It was his lunch break his own time not on Walmart payroll in his own time I would issue a writ for aggravated wrongful dismissal,with added damages for failing to protect employees during lunch break.
Jo Anne Herrera Braley October 19, 2013 at 04:16 PM
I live in Upland Ca. and I will not shop at Walmart anymore. We need people who care in this crazy world. Walmart has been known to treat its employees bad, and this guy should have been praised for helping someone in need. Shame on you Walmart!!!

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