James Phillips just wants to "be one of the best greeters I know how to be," he tells KTRK, which involved Phillips' signature salutation at the Walmart where he works: "Have a blessed day." But after a customer at the store in Blue Ridge, Ga., complained about his greeting, Walmart management asked Phillips to stop using it. When customers got wind of the decision, they flooded social media, contacted the press, rallied at the store, and called Walmart headquarters to protest, WSB-TV reports. Walmart relented only a day later. Phillips, a fifth-grade dropout, says his faith has carried him through hard times and that "many people come to this store and tell me how glad they are that I say that," Fox 5 reports, though he takes care to add he doesn't harbor hard feelings toward his employer.
Walmart acknowledges that Phillips was told to stop using his welcome, but only to "share a customer's concern," per a company statement sent to Fox 5. "That was not correct guidance because it doesn't reflect any Walmart policy," the statement read. "We greatly value our associate and appreciate his work for our company and he is welcome to continue sharing his greeting with our customers." Phillips is thankful for the public support, telling WSB-TV that "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." Adds his son, Michael: "My dad believes what he says, so let him say it." (Maybe the reversal will help boost Walmart's popularity.)