Disabled Walmart customer says worker tried to keep him from using motorized cart

Disabled Walmart customer says worker tried to keep him from using motorized cart »Play Video
Michael, who has spina bifida, a birth defect, says a Walmart employee told him he couldn't use a motorized scooter.

CORNELIUS, Ore. -- A disabled man says a worker at a local Walmart store tried to keep him from using a motorized shopping cart, and he is not happy with Walmart's response.

The disabled man, Michael, says a friend experienced a similar situation. Walmart says it's addressed Michael's concerns but is questioning the second man's story.

"I was in tears. I was embarrassed," said Michael while describing the incident, which he says happened at the Walmart in Cornelius last month.

"It's embarrassing enough," Michael said. "I'm 30 years old having to use a wheelchair!"

Michael says he has spina bifida, a birth defect.

"It's a protrusion of my spinal cord," Michael said, describing a part of his spine as not being straight but "kinda like a big bowl of spaghetti."

Michael wears leg braces and has a hard time walking and standing.

He says he was picking up some prescriptions and asked a worker if he could us a motorized cart.

"She says, 'you're not disabled. You don't need one,'" Michael recalled, "and I'm like, 'excuse me, I'm here all the time. I use them all the time when I shop and yeah, I am disabled.’"

Michael says after arguing with her, he used a cart anyway and wound up complaining to a manager who apologized and told him he would talk to the employee.

A few weeks later, however, Michael says a similar incident happened to his friend, Michael Frick.

"It's painful. I wear a knee brace," said Frick, describing his torn meniscus and torn ACL.

Frick says he limped into the store earlier this month and was told the only cart available was out of electricity, which he says was untrue.

"I ended up having to walk through the store," Frick said, "and was in a lot of pain by the time I got home afterwards."

Walmart is looking into his claim but says it has video of Frick in the store using a cart around the time he says this all happened. Frick says the incident he described happened during a second visit to the store that week.

"It was very upsetting for me," Frick said.

State and federal laws do not require stores to offer motorized shopping carts to disabled people.

A Walmart spokeswoman sent us the following statement regarding this story:

"A cornerstone at Walmart is respect for the individual. We want all of our customers to have an enjoyable shopping experience, and we have addressed this complaint with our associate."

The spokeswoman would not say how the complaint was addressed with the worker, who is still employed at the store.