After Photo of Veteran Sitting in the Rain Goes Viral, Walmart Makes Amends

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DICKSON CITY, Pa. -- Thousands on Facebook shared a picture of a veteran sitting by himself in the rain outside a Walmart in Dickson City.

In the post, the veteran's wife says he was made to sit out in the rain and not in the covered area of the store.

One day later, Manuel Griffin was in front of the store again--this time in the sun--collecting donations for service members.

The veteran wouldn't talk with Newswatch 16 on camera. His friend David Ragan knows why.

“He is going to do what he has to do for his VFW, and he wants to make sure he is representing them the same way we did when we wore the uniform,” Ragan said.

A manager from Walmart did tell Newswatch 16 that this store had implemented a safety policy about two years ago. Those collecting money had to be 15 feet from the doorway.

Many people stopped to donate to the veteran on Saturday and received a poppy for their support.

Shoppers tell Newswatch 16 there should be an alternative for the 69-year-old veteran.

“It was not even human. You don’t do that to people like that. It ain’t right,” said Chester Gunderman.

“How you could make a gentleman who fought for our country and risk his life for our freedom sit in the rain while he is trying to sell something to remember those who went before him?” Beth Bonacci asked.

Ragan talked to the store manager and was able to come to an agreement that would give veterans a cover in inclement weather.

“The whole goal is how can we make a bad situation better, and I think both sides want that continued relationship.”

Walmart in Dickson City says it will offer a canopy for veterans in the future.

As for Griffin, rain or shine, he plans on collecting for other veterans bright and early Sunday morning.


  • Denise Moon

    Sorry lickerblisters your comment about those bit**ing about how Walmart treated this veteran, ignored and walked into the store to spend their money is a valid point.

    • Vinman (@VindowsXP)

      VFW’s can only put tents over kegs of beer and raffle ticket sales? One of the FOUR VFW’s is 3.2 miles away…an 8 min ride. And there’s like a dozen American Legions in that area…and all of them have tents i can guarantee you. He probably could have bought a tent right there and got reimbursed for it. It’s not Walmart’s fault, this just sets a precedent. Now they’ll have to provide others with tents as well. You know why our VFW always uses a tent? To hang the banner on it letting people know why we are sitting there. Or is that Walmart’s job as well? Should Walmart also pay for his drinks later at the VFW? Stop the endless nitpicking America! The fighting is what bothers Vets….not Walmart or rain. Unless it’s flesh eating rain.

  • Denise Moon

    @ozzycoop you made a good point military personal are taught to be prepared, also @ burtfan16, the story states “Those collecting money must be 15 feet away from the doorway”. He was not 15 feet away. @ Matt Burns I agree the VFW should provide these veterans with shelter from sun and rain, also drinks and food. With all that being said, I totally support our military personal and our veterans. I also buy poppies every year and thank that person for his or her service. I have also always offered to buy that veteran a drink or sandwich. 90% of the other shoppers will either Just walk right by either saying a polite No thank you, or worse totally ignoring the veteran, others will use the other door to completely avoid them. So who is truly the guilty person?

  • ozzycoop

    Rain was in the forecast. Why didn’t come prepared like a military person should. Besides, I’ll bet Walmart can’t let him collect money inside the store no more than they could the Boy Scouts. Probably some legal thing. But I guess all of you chest thumpers don’t stop to consider the facts or other side of the story.

    • burtfan16

      Obviously you’re a Walmart fan but if you read even the headline of the story you’ll note that they made amends thus admitting fault. There will be canopies provided in the future. Your stance on this has no merit.

  • burtfan16

    Bottom line: Walmart=Greedy whores. They probably want him 15 ft away so he’ll have less people spending money on poppies and they’ll have more to spend in the store. Don’t kid yourselves, that’s how Walmart thinks.

    • ozzycoop

      But he isn’t 15 feet away from the store so your comment has no merit. And besides Walmart is a business. Businesses want to make money. You expect them to give you some free stuff? I’m guessing you would make a terrible business owner.

      • burtfan16

        What the hell are you talking about? It’s right in the story; 15 feet away from doorway. Merit that.

  • lickerblisters

    Amazing how everybody being interviewed by WNEP b#tched about Walmart allowing the veteran to sit in the rain and then turned around and walked right into Walmart to spend their money.

  • Lynn O'Dell

    This could be why young folks do not stay in the area, very narrowmindedness!!! Thank a VET, shake his hand, buy them dinner, buy a poppy!!!

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