An 88-year-old Walmart greeter says that he was fired because he didn’t inform his manager when a wild turkey entered the store.
Bob Tallinger has worked as a greeter for almost eight years at the Walmart in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He says that he was shocked when a stray turkey entered the facility on March 27.
“It starts and it goes back, and then it walks out,” Tallinger described of the turkey’s movements.
WISN reports that the turkey entered the store at around 3:30 p.m. and wandered up and down the aisles. Although workers were able to shoo the bird out of the store, the turkey continued to stay put just outside the store’s doors. Eventually, the Humane Animal Welfare Society was called in.
Mark Hess, a member of the Welfare Society, says that it’s pretty common to find wild turkeys hanging around urban areas. However, they’ll rarely interact with people.
“The bird was fine. There was no injuries to the bird,” he said. “I’m just assuming it was a bird that lived on the outskirts of the city of Waukesha. It was used to people and activities and became a little too friendly.”
According to WBTV, Walmart’s managers weren’t as amused at the incident and fired Tallinger for not acting fast enough to remove the turkey from the premises.
When the 88-year-old greeter asked why he was fired, management responded, “You should have helped get that turkey out of here.”
The 88-year-old was told that it was his responsibility to alert a manager about the turkey.
His wife, Janet, is pushing back against her husband’s unexpected termination, saying that handling wild turkeys isn’t in her husband’s job description.
“He was hired to be a greeter and that’s what he did,” she said. “He never saw a book of rules that said if a wild turkey comes in here, you better run and get management.”
Janet said that her husband loved his job as a greeter and that he was one of the most popular employees, Fox News reports.
“Granted he’s gotten older and granted he’s lost a little memory but nevertheless that hasn’t prevented him from being an excellent greeter,” she said.
Tallinger himself said that his work was often the highlight of his day and that he will miss his fellow employees.
Walrmart headquarters issued a statement saying that they would not comment on the nature of the case, but did confirm that Tallinger was indeed fired.
“We appreciate the public’s concern and take this situation seriously,” the statement read. “While we will not comment on HR matters, we can confirm Mr. Tallinger is no longer with the company.”