Meet Jason: Associate and Special Olympics Champion

By Jason Rupert
July 15, 2014
Jason Rupert and his Walmart team

When I was 10, I was swimming in my local pool, and a Special Olympics coordinator stopped me to ask if I would be interested in competing. Since then, I’ve been training and competing in freestyle, breaststroke and relay races and having a great time meeting people and traveling all over the state. Probably what I like most about Special Olympics is competing with my older sister, Katie, who also swims and cycles. Together we have earned a very large collection of medals.

My coworkers at Walmart always ask how I finished in a race and pass on words of encouragement. And just a few weeks ago, I was able to give a great answer: I won two silver medals and one bronze in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked going to Walmart, so it was an obvious choice for me to decide to work there. When I was little, my mother would take us shopping at the Walmart in Bowling Green. I remember the store was neat and the people were very courteous and nice. For me it was just a fun place to be.

When I turned 20, it was time for me to find a job to keep myself busy and earn some money. Because I have a mild learning disability, it’s hard at times to understand things right away. I had learned while earning my Eagle Scout badge to be confident, kind and trustworthy, so while I knew there were work programs available to help those similar to me, I wanted to do this by myself – and I knew exactly where I was going to go.

That was three years ago, and I was hired as a Courtesy Associate at my local Walmart in Perrysburg, Ohio. It was challenging at first, but since then I’ve learned so much. I’ve met wonderful people and made very good friends. I hope one day I’ll be promoted to Customer Service Supervisor.

Over the years I’ve come to understand and appreciate that my Walmart team is always behind me – whether I’m competing or just working at my store. My mom jokes that gathering carts at Walmart has developed my upper body strength for swimming. What I also know is this: my job at Walmart has also developed my confidence, and with my coworkers supporting me, I know there’s no limit to what I can achieve.