Walmart greeter with cerebral palsy to lose job after position is eliminated

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Walmart is changing its trademark "door greeter" job description, and that means many employees will be out of jobs.

It's happening at 1,000 stores across the country, including Naperville, where one employee is wondering what is next.

For 19 years, Craig Goodwin has been a familiar face at this Walmart in Naperville, greeting customers as they enter and leave the store. The self-described people person loves his job.

"I really enjoy helping people and I will listen to them in any way I can," he said.

Goodwin has cerebral palsy. He said Walmart hired him when many other businesses wouldn't.

"I've known people since their kids were in strollers. Now they're married and stuff," he said.

Goodwin and his parents were stunned to find out that the door greeter position is going away.

Walmart is replacing it with so-called "customer hosts" who have expanded responsibilities that include being able to lift 25 pounds, collect carts and stand for long periods of time.

This is taking effect at 1,000 Walmart stores across the country, a change that disproportionately affects workers with disabilities.

Craig's mother, Sharon, found out that it also affects the elderly after she posted on Facebook.

"One girl responded that her 76-year-old grandmother just lost her greeter job due to the change and her grandmother is devastated," Sharon Goodwin said.

Craig was notified of the change more than a week ago, and was given until the end of April to transition to a new position within the store. He says he was offered the job of fitting room attendant.

"For Craig, who has very limited use of his hands, obviously, he can't rehang clothes, so we just don't see this as a viable, workable option," his mother said.

For now, it appears the writing is on the wall that Craig will no longer be able to work at Walmart. He says the company is making a big mistake.

"People like to see a friendly face at Walmart when they walk through the door," he said.

A Walmart spokesperson said up to 85 percent of associates stay within the company in a new role.

As for Craig, he is looking into door greeter positions at other stores.

He said a lot of friends he's made over the years are upset about this change and have given him a lot of support.

Meanwhile, Walmart Walmart Corporate Communications issued this statement:

"As we strive to constantly improve the experience for our customers, we will need to adjust roles from time to time. We've recently shared our plans to change the responsibilities of the people greeter role in some stores and that involves associates with disabilities in some cases. We recognize that our associates with physical disabilities face a unique situation. With that in mind, we will be extending the current 60-day greeter transition period for associates with disabilities while we explore the circumstances and potential accommodations, for each individual, that can be made within each store. This allows these associates to continue their employment at the store as valued members of the team while we seek an acceptable, customized solution for all of those involved."
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