Walmart staff James Phillips used to welcome customers with a bright and cheery "Have a blessed day!" But when a customer complained about it, the Blue Ridge, Georgia store prohibited him from making that greeting again, Fox News reports.
Other customers weren't so thrilled with management's decision and reportedly formed a group outside the store to protest, repeatedly chanting, "Have a blessed day! Have a blessed day! Have a blessed day!" They even posted that very greeting on their cars in support of Phillips, while other customers contacted Walmart's headquarters to complain about the manager and his decision.
The overwhelming support Phillips received convinced management to back down on its decision. The store manager told Fox News that he prohibited Phillips from making the greeting, although he admitted that it was "not correct guidance because it doesn't reflect any Walmart policy."
"We greatly value our associate and appreciate his work for our company and he is welcome to continue sharing his greeting with our customers," Walmart said in a statement.
As soon as he was told by management that he could greet people like he used to, Phillips went to the rallying crowd and said, "Today, I'm able to able to stand and tell people 'Have a blessed day' and I thank God for it." His announcement was met with cheers and applause.
"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," Phillips said to Fox News. "I want to just be one of the best greeters I know how to be."
Phillips' case isn't the first one. Bank teller Polly Neace claimed she was fired from her job of 24 years at a bank last year when she told a customer, "Have a blessed day." She filed a lawsuit against her former employer for religious discrimination.
"I can't back down from this. It's the principle behind everything," she told Fox 19.