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BLUE RIDGE, Ga. - Public pressure and strong support on social media have forced Walmart in Blue Ridge to do an about-face on censoring one of their long-time greeters.
James Philips is the first person people see when they walk into Walmart and he has always greeted them with "Have a blessed day" until someone complained and he was silenced.
When Philips was told that as a Walmart employee he could not greet people with the phrase, the community became his mouthpiece.
"I wasn't trying to start a movement, but I am very appreciative that people thought enough of me to stand up for me this way,” said Philips. “I want to just be one of the best greeters I know how to be.”
After a public outcry over the decision, Walmart caved.
“I'm glad they made the right decision to support James and his well wishes for our community,” supporter Crystal Ayres said.
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Walmart management released the following statement reversing its decision:
"We greatly value our associates and appreciate his work for the company. He is welcome to continue sharing his greeting with our customers.”
“My dad believes what he says so let him say it,” Philips’ son, Michael, said.
James has been flocked with supporters who not only showed up in person, but also took to Facebook and called Walmart corporate offices by the hundreds because they believe what he does matters.
“They tell me, some of them do, when I tell them, “Have a blessed day,” they can be upset or mad and it goes away when I tell them that, so that's God working, not me,” said Philips.