Last week, our Walmart family suffered two separate acts of violence. It is difficult to find a word strong enough to describe the way we feel. We’re feeling a wide range of emotions – shock, anger, grief. We are also feeling gratitude for the first responders in El Paso and Southaven and proud of the way our fellow associates reacted so courageously.
I was in El Paso on Tuesday, and I met heroes. We heard incredible stories of associates who made heroic efforts to get customers to safety. From our Store Manager, Robert, who was leaving the store and then ran back in when he heard the shots, to Gilbert and Lasonya, who helped dozens of customers to safety out the back of the store, to Mayra, who may have been the very first responder and did an exceptional job, bandaging wounds and helping customers escape. I also got to thank Sarah and her team from the Sam’s Club next door for the care they provided to customers. We heard story after story of courageous associates putting others ahead of themselves.
Pictured from left to right: Robert Evans, Mayra Zuniga, Todd Harbaugh, Lasonya Pickard, Gilbert Serna and Doug McMillon
When the worst happens, we counter with our best selves. We support each other, pray together, stand firm and heal together. In so many ways, Walmart reflects the best of America – full of people from all walks of life going about the business of taking care of family and daily responsibilities, living their lives and chasing their dreams. We are proud to be woven into the American fabric as a place for all people, a community gathering place.
As it becomes clearer that the shooting in El Paso was motivated by hate, we are more resolved than ever to foster an inclusive environment where all people are valued and welcomed. Our store in El Paso is well known as a tight-knit community hub for people in the region, where we serve customers from both sides of the border. I continue to be amazed at the strength and resilience that we find in the diversity of the communities where we live and work.
Our first focus continues to be responding to the situation on the ground, and helping our associates, customers and law enforcement. There is a resource center on-site in El Paso where affected associates and their families can utilize counselors from Resources for Living for emotional support or talk to their leadership teams one-on-one. We want to make sure our associates have what they need to get through this difficult time, and to support the response effort and community members.
We are a learning organization, and, as you can imagine, we will work to understand the many important issues that arise from El Paso and Southaven, as well as those that have been raised in the broader national discussion around gun violence. We will be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses, and we will act in a way that reflects the best values and ideals of our company, with a focus on serving the needs of our customers, associates and communities.
Thanks for what you do every day and especially during this difficult time. I’m grateful to be part of this team and proud of you.
August 7, 2019