Hartland Township — Days after Wal-Mart fired an employee for helping stop a woman’s parking lot assault, the national retailer has backtracked and said Friday it would offer Kristopher Oswald his job back.
“We looked into the situation, reviewed the facts, talked to witnesses,” Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said Friday. “While Mr. Oswald broke a policy of ours — a policy put in place to protect our associates and our customers … we realize Mr. Oswald’s intentions were good.”
The Bentonville, Ark.-based company left messages for Oswald to tell him he still had a job, but as of late Friday had not received a reply. He did not immediately respond to calls Friday.
Kristopher Oswald earlier told The News he did the right thing when he interrupted the assault, even though it violated Wal-Mart’s policies for employees.
The 30-year-old has said he was in his car on his break about 2:30 a.m. Sunday when he saw a man grabbing a woman. He said he asked her if she needed help and the man started punching him in the head and yelling that he was going to kill him. Oswald said he was able to get on top of the man, but then two other men jumped him from behind.
“This incident was witnessed by six to eight other people because we were all on break at the same time, but I was the closest person,” Oswald told The News.
He said he approached the woman, asking if she needed help, and planned on contacting authorities.
“She said, ‘Please help, he’s irate, please help,” Oswald said. “I extended my arm and he pulls me into the vehicle ... when I pull my sleeve away he said ‘I’m going to kill you.’”
Livingston County sheriff’s deputies arrived and halted the fight.
Oswald said store management decided to end his temporary assignment. He had worked for Wal-Mart for about seven weeks.
“We have a protocol in place: See something. Say something,” Buchanan said Friday. “We encourage associates to alert their management and call police.
“There are circumstances where we need to take a step back.”
Despite his dismissal, Oswald said he felt justified in his actions. “What I did, I truly believe was the right thing,” he said. “I just reacted in self-defense. I never threw a punch ... I did question how they can use a policy of workplace violence against me because I wasn’t an employee who assaulted someone, I was a employee who was assaulted.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.