Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, the Vice President’s words are spot on. You are making a difference for America. After visiting with our folks in the Distribution Center, I visited with our Supercenter teams in Gordonsville and Charlottesville and our Sam’s Club in Charlottesville and that feeling was further reinforced. Like so many Americans, I am grateful for you, proud of you.
These past few weeks have prompted waves of emotions: We’ve felt challenged, determined, exhausted, and hopeful, often at the same time. Our strength has been tested, and we’ve responded with a collective resolve that has become a hallmark of this company. I’ve heard countless stories about how our team is working together during this challenging time, leading with humanity, compassion and understanding. I’ve seen you in action – especially this past month as I’ve traveled to stores and clubs across the country – as you serve customers, neighbors and each other, always going the extra mile. We’re all stretching our limits, and I wish I could thank each one of you individually.
Families need us now more than ever. Communities are counting on us. And we have been there for them. The other day, a customer told us that he has always shopped with Walmart, but he’s especially proud to do so now because “Walmart is keeping us all afloat.” What a compliment to you. And I’ve heard from so many grateful customers about how we’re greeting them with a smile and a helping hand, making the toughest of days a little easier. Examples abound.
When a doctor in Richmond, Virginia, recently called a local store in desperate need of elastic to enhance N95 masks, our associates there didn’t hesitate. They quickly collected all the elastic they could find to help. When we announced that we would stand up mobile testing sites in some of our parking lots, within 48 hours, more than 700 Walmart Pharmacists and health-and-wellness associates volunteered to assist. And the amazing associates at one of our Sam’s Clubs inspired this note from a grateful member: “Thank you for all your hard work. For your tolerance of excessively long lines. For the same endless questions. For handling panicky people, who can be unhappy and angry. For all you have endured and are enduring. Thank you! Keep smiling! You are strong! You got this! Rock on!”
Indeed. Our teams haven’t stopped. In fact, during one recent 7-day period, our drivers made more than 150,000 deliveries to stores and clubs and 30,000 deliveries of goods to distribution centers. Collectively, they logged more than 27.5 million miles on the road – that’s like driving from New York to Los Angeles 10,000 times. In one week! You haven’t missed a beat, and people everywhere are grateful. Keep it up.
This is what it looks like to be a servant leader.
You are providing a vital service to your community, and we want you to be safe in doing so. Some of the steps we’re taking to keep you healthy include closing stores and clubs overnight to allow for cleaning and sanitizing and to give you a chance to recover; placing social distancing floor decals in stores and installing protective sneeze guards at checkouts and pharmacies; temporarily stopping food demos, Auto Care Centers, and other areas to focus more on cleaning and sanitizing; waiving the co-pay for tele-health service; and providing access to mental-health services through Resources for Living. In addition, we are in the process of making masks and gloves available for associates who want to wear them. And though at this time the CDC and other health officials do not recommend masks or gloves for healthy people, we understand if you’d prefer to use them. The masks will begin to arrive over the next few weeks.
We will continue to adapt and make changes as necessary to protect you and our customers.
For your part, I ask that you keep in mind these numbers: 6, 20 and 100. Six feet is the amount of space necessary for “social distancing” to prevent spread of the virus. Twenty seconds is how long you should wash your hands – and wash them often. And 100 is the temperature that you should stay home with. All of these measures are designed to support and protect you and our customers and help us all get past this crisis sooner.
Your actions are not going unnoticed. A customer in Buena Park, California, recently wrote us to thank our store associates there “for caring about our wellness.” She noted that associates were “extremely courteous” and “willing to help” while being mindful of social distancing and liked that customers were “gently but firmly prodded to adhere to this new normal.” She was grateful and appreciative. So are all of us.
I hope you’ve heard by now that today hourly associates in our stores, supply chain and corporate offices received a special bonus. We’re also accelerating Q1 bonuses for hourly associates, so that payment will come a month early – later this month. Overall, it amounts to nearly $550 million going into associates’ pockets and the economy at this important time. You’re thinking quickly and creatively, putting in extra work, helping customers in new ways, and taking on more and more. I hope you and your families know how much we appreciate it. How much the country appreciates it.
As the club member said, we are strong. And we’re getting stronger. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be welcoming a lot of new associates to the team. On average, we’re hiring about 5,000 new associates every day. This is an unusual time to start a new job, so please remember to greet these new team members with warmth and kindness. This is a time for togetherness. We are at our best when we work together, learn together, grow together.
I know you’ve heard this a lot lately, but from the bottom of my heart: Thank you. Words cannot properly express how proud I am of every single one of you.