Did Stewart’s Employees Put A Handicapped Man Outside In The Path Of Yesterday’s Storm? (UPDATE: Stewart’s Releases Statement)
Please note that at the end of this article is an update, Stewart's Shops released a statement about the matter.
There is a story that has been circulating around the "Facebook", written by a woman who claims to have witnessed a Stewart's Shop in Troy put a man in a wheelchair out into the heart of yesterday's storm. I do not know what is true or not true, and I will say that as of the time of me writing this, we have not heard Stewart's side of the story. It is however a little bit disturbing, and I can not imagine what would have happened if this man got seriously injured while exposed to lightning and possible tornado force winds.
I have to say that I very much enjoy my Stewart's stop in the morning and as they probably know, while I do not think they advertise with my show, I have always been a fan of the small town charm that they have been able to establish and maintain despite the company's amazing growth through the years. That being said, here is what someone posted to my wall earlier today:
"To all my fb friends please share and help get this story out. This is a copy of what i sent to cbs. I will keep all informed if i get a response from either cbs or Stewarts Shop. Thanks all.
To: CBS I am so upset and disgusted at what I witnessed tonight from employees at a Stewarts shop in Troy on Hoosic street. Around 7:00 this evening during the horrible storm that came through, my cousin and I were driving home from Grafton area to Colonie. We hit Stewart's on Hoosic street and had to pull into the Stewart's parking lot to wait the storm out. After a large lightning the stewarts shop power went out. While we were sitting there a man in a wheelchair with no legs came out of Stewart's. I was sitting wondering what he was doing. Hoping he would go back into the Stewart's shop. After noticing he was trying to maneuver his wheelchair up close to the building so he could somehow try to shelter himself from the torrential downpour of rain (thunder and lighting very much present) and high winds I got out and asked him if everything was ok. He said the Stewart's employee's made him leave the store. I went to the door and banged on the window and asked if they could just please let the man in till it was safe for him to be outside. One male employee shook his head and said "no, it's company policy". Really!!! It's unbelievable that a handicap man in a wheelchair would be thrown out on the streets when all over the radio and tv the media is telling people in the cohoes, Troy and Walervliet area to find shelter and preferably in a basement. My cousin and I covered the man up with our coats and blanket i had in my car but, it really didn't help him much. All we could do was stay there with him in the pouring rain, lighting and thunder and try to shelter him and make him as comfortable as we could and wait the storm out with him. I am totally disgusted. There is nothing else I can say. I'm hoping this story gets out. If this is a policy of Stewart's (to throw our handicap citizens out on the street to fend for themselves in a storm like the one that occurred tonight), then Stewarts really should set some new policies. Shame on the employees at the Stewart's shop on Rt 7 (Hoosic street in Troy) and shame on the Stewarts corporation if this is your policy!!!!!!!!!
I would be willing to talk with anyone from CBS if you feel this is a story you think should be followed up on. You have my email address. You may contact me with your contact number and I can call the station.
Thank you Deborah Korzyk"
I have to admit, I really don't know what to make of it, but I am very curious about how YOU all feel. If it is true that it is store policy, and it may very well be in a power outage situation, (for the safety of the customers), should this have been an exception? I also know that if a manager were not in the store many employees, who just don'y have the power to make a choice like that will almost always resort to "standard operating procedure".
What would you have done in a similar situation, and what if anything should Stewart's do to answer to this charge?
In the hours since I first wrote this story, Stewart's Shops sent me a press release addressing the situation, and apologizing for the incident. In it they said,
“Stewart’s Shops has a history of being a place customers can rely on in times of need, therefore we take this situation very seriously. We are researching the details of the incident and will address this personnel matter appropriately. We are extending our most sincere apologies to the customers involved, and thank those who offered assistance.”
I do believe it is sincere, and I'm sure that they are grateful for all of your comments and can now make any necessary changes to what may be current store policy or address any employees that acted inappropriately.