Wednesday, October 30, 2013

it isn't about walmart

I am sitting down to share a little bit of our perspective on the situation with Matt being let go from Walmart last Monday.  It's been quite a week that is for sure.  Despite the stress and heartache in this situation, the outpouring of love and support, originally from our own community then nationwide, has been incredible to say the least.  There is no way we can express the gratitude we feel.  The reaction to this has been astounding and it's become clear that Matt has inspired countless people and is loved by many.  He truly is a beacon of light, love, and optimism in a world where he would be completely justified in being cynical and hardened by his circumstances.

This story is not, and has never been, about Walmart.  It is not about a huge corporation, or a local establishment.  It is about advocating for an exceptional man, one who deserves all this world has to offer him, and more.  Matt is a miracle, his story is one that should be shared, and his life incredibly unique.  To say that the accident that left him permanently mentally and physically disabled was and continues to be devastating is an understatement.  It was life changing in every sense of the word.  The ambition and motivation of Matt has always been inspiring and has become even more obvious in the last 8 years.  He truly is one of a kind. 

Statistically, the majority of people in a similar situation would not be working, whether by their own choice or limited opportunity.  I believe one would be very hard pressed to find someone who would rather keep his job than his disability income, despite the fact that the disability income is a very large percentage of his earnings.  Matt is a hard worker who no doubt wishes he was capable of his previous skill level, but tries to make the best of an incredibly tough situation.  He has chosen to have a good attitude, to treat people with kindness and respect, and to work to the very best of his abilities.  He is the most humble man I've ever met.  He takes criticism in stride and is always looking to better himself.

The most important thing to know about Matt is that he is a family man with deep rooted faith.  He loves me, his wife, and our children more than anything in the world.  He shows this day in and day out through his actions and in his kind words.  I have gotten word from many, many customers that mention seeing me to him and get, "Oh, you are so lucky.  She is so wonderful..." I say this to show how loving he is.  I have plenty of weaknesses, but he notices all of the good things and forgets the bad.  He is this way with every person he loves, speaks with, and even those he sees in passing.

Our situation is very unique.  Less than 5% of people in our circumstance are still married 5 years after a debilitating injury such as this.  We are still happily married and working through the good and the bad.  This has definitely not been an easy road.  There are many obstacles, stresses, and frustrations.  There is grief and longing for what was lost.  There are also happy moments, things to celebrate both big and small, and hope for the future.  We have two beautiful children, a roof over our heads, supportive friends and family, and try to keep a perspective to appreciate what is truly most important.

This is wordy, but I want those who know of this situation to know who Matt is.  He needs to be recognized for the absolutely amazing individual that he is.  I frequently get emotional discussing him or defending him because he is such a special person.  I truly believe he is a gift to all the lives he touches in any way.

Losing his job was a blow to all of us.  Matt is completely accepting of his part in all of this, what he could have done differently, and what needs to change as we go forward.  We were fortunate for this situation to have been evaluated and handed to the general manager for his decision.  He gladly welcomed Matt back to his position, starting immediately.  Mistakes were made, communication was lost, and management was bad.  The process was frustrating and I felt disappointed and out of the loop.  Rumors spread and the emotions of many got involved.  It was crazy.  Things are still being ironed out so I cannot say much, but this was not at all handled how it should have been.

I must say that the general manager and several other managers came through for us.  We felt heard and understood and new steps are being taken to make sure that this doesn't become a problem.  We are working together to figure out a way for Matt to be as successful as possible. 

Again, words cannot express the gratitude we have for all of you who have been supporting and encouraging us.  It has buoyed us up in a hard time.  Something tells me that Matt's story, our family's story, will continue to be spread and will continue to help and encourage other people.  Tragedy often brings countless blessings, and I know in our lives this has proved to be true over and over. 

12 comments:

Kimberly Jellison said...

I am so ha[[y to hear that Matt is going back to work. Whenever I come in the door with my 9 year old redheaded son, Matt always tells me how much he loves his redheaded son. We share that bond. I will be sure to welcome Matt back to Wal-Mart the next time I see him.

Kimberly Jellison

Niki Wineholt said...

Jess!!That was beautiful! I seriously cried!! You, Matt, and your precious boys are beautiful!! Your family is an inspiration to me, and countless others!! We love you guys, and have HUGE respect for you! You're in our thoughts and prayers. Please let us know if we can do ANYTHING for you, and your sweet little family. :)

Anonymous said...

Amazingly said!! Yes Matt has obviously touched many he touched mine without ever even exchanging more than a thank u, but I am also well aware of the amazingly STRONG woman that stands beside him and makes your family work!! Great job lady you're lucky to have eachother! Amazing things in store for u both!

Sarah Harris said...

I don't know you, but I know of you from shopping at Walmart and I believe Matt started working there around the time I stopped. He really is such a light to everyone. I am so grateful he was offered his job back. I wanted to let you know that not only is he in inspiration to those he comes in contact with, but you, are also an inspiration. Many people would not have given him a chance at such a wonderful life and family. I am so grateful to even "know" who you are and it gives me hope and faith that God can do amazing things when you have love in your heart. Thank you.

Traci Barnes said...

Yes, the story needs to be told. I will buy the book!

Rebecca Carpenter said...

You and he continue to give me hope for man kind. I know that's a tall order, and I don't mean it as weight on you. But seeing the genuine good, caring, resiliance, love, and determination that both of you have gives me hope and reminds me that no matter the situation, big or small, nothing is insurmountable. I'm so glad that he got his job back, not just because it's the right thing to do based on the information I've read, but also because I can't think of a harder worker or anyone who deserves their job more than Matt. I really do hope that I have the pleasure of meeting him someday.

Anonymous said...

Jessica ,
Thank you for helping me to remember what is important in life. You and Matt are an inspiration , God Bless your family!

Laura Miller said...

I met Matt and his wife at a friends house for dinner. Their bond alone gave me passion for my own family. He truly is an awesome person to be greeted by at Walmart or to even have the blessing to have as a friend or family member. He greets you with a smile, respect, and will go out of his way to help you. I respect you for sharing this story and bringing this to Walmarts attention about how a simple mistake can really affect someone. What they should do is find all of the good and praise Matt on what an amazing job he does in caring about customers. Customer service is key and that's definitely what Matt does.

mandie lane said...

I cheered out loud when I read the news about Matt's return. Thanks for sharing your blog and all the best to you and your family going forward. The kids and I will be happy to see Matt back at the door soon! (Even if he did once stop me, when I was entering the store in a black and white striped shirt, to ask when I'd broken out of jail. Took me a minute to get the joke but when I did, best laugh of the day. Can't wear that shirt now without thinking I look like an inmate.) Take care, Wood family.

Dawn Wommer said...

Thank you for sharing your story & your life with us. I don't think I know you, but what an inspiration both of you are to this world. I think the key to every relationship/situation is proper communication!

Lacy said...

Love this AMAZING little family!

Matt & Stacy Woods said...

You both are incredibly inspiring. We're cheering for you!