Television staff

‘Terror’ for disabled elderly South Surrey after Walmart staff retrieve borrowed wheelchair, citing policy – North Delta Reporter

An elderly person from South Surrey is asking Walmart to better train its staff to deal with customers with disabilities, after saying her husband was at risk of a serious fall during a recent shopping trip.

Kathleen McMahon said she and John were at Grandview Corners Walmart Supercentre (2355 160 St.) on April 20 when a security guard asked John to use a shopping cart while McMahon picked up their van from the parking lot .

John, 79, has balance problems due to Parkinson’s disease, and Kathleen had left him waiting just outside the exit – ‘exactly the same place I always do’ – in the wheelchair of courtesy of the store he had used during the half hour they’d spent shopping in the store.

When she returned a few minutes later, however, she was shocked to find him standing there, holding a shopping cart to steady himself.

“The look on his face was one of pure terror,” Kathleen said.

“His legs, because of Parkinson’s disease, the thighs are freezing. There is no warning. He can just fall off, and he’s done that many times,” she explained.

“He was hanging on for dear life.”

Peace Ark News contacted Walmart about the incident, however, as soon as PANdeadline of Tuesday afternoon (April 26), had not received a response.

The company reportedly told TV news that it was investigating the incident and would contact the McMahons.

However, Kathleen says she heard “not a glance” from the store manager, or anyone at company level – both of whom received messages on the day of the incident.

“I would have liked to at least hear that they were studying the matter and that they would answer me,” she said.

“They didn’t even do that.”

Kathleen said she was keen to speak to the security guard at the time, but says the response she got there “did nothing to quell the anger I felt”.

The employee simply confirmed that she had taken John’s wheelchair – who also has Alzheimer’s disease – and said store policy prohibited them from being taken out of the store.

If that was the case, “there are many ways she could have handled this situation,” Kathleen said. “The one she chose was irresponsible, reckless. Taking a wheelchair from a disabled person is irresponsible.

Kathleen said her husband had no animosity about what happened and said she was not seeking financial compensation from Walmart – although she most certainly would have taken legal action if John had fallen that day.

She went public with the experience because she’s convinced it wasn’t the first time something like this had happened, and “I wish it would stop.”

She would like to see a policy put in place and training for staff so this “never happens again”.

“When something that’s wrong on so many levels happens, I think it’s important to speak up,” she said.

“I will not tolerate this kind of behavior. It’s just not fair.


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