Over the weekend, an Oregon Walmart came under fire for allegedly removing high school carolers from their store. The young people, who sought to bring a little holiday cheer to patrons by singing Carol of the Bells for them, were told police would have to be called if they could not be silent. However, their being asked to be silent was not due to their singing, but rather a more pressing issue at the time.
Children caroling inside the Klamath Falls Walmart say they were kicked out Thursday night and told to leave or police would be called.
Parents tell NBC5 News that a group of students from Henley High School were caroling at the Klamath Falls Walmart Thursday night when they were asked to leave in a manner that frightened some of the kids.
A manager at the Klamath Falls Walmart declined to comment. We are told however, that the students were not invited to be there and the singing was on private property.
However, though the parent videoing the caroling couldn’t believe what was taking place, it didn’t dampen the young people’s spirits. They simply moved on over to Fred Meyer in Klamath Falls and spread the joy of the season with patrons there without being asked to leave.
When asked why he would allow the young people to carol in his store, store manager Bill Patterson told Sons of Liberty Media, “I don’t know, I just can’t imagine not doing it.”
“It’s a great thing,” he said. “They’re great kids. It’s things the customers like we like to try to do. The customers enjoyed it a lot. They clapped and cheered for them.”
Patterson told us that he was unaware that the group was driven from the Walmart until after the fact.
“We knew nothing of that incident before,” he said. “It’s just how we do things.”
We also contacted Klamath Falls Walmart and asked them for their side of the story.
In speaking with a supervisor who wished to remain anonymous, we were told that the young people were not removed nor were they run off by the retailer.
“We had a Code Adam,” the supervisor said. A Code Adam is a reference to children who have been separated from their parents.
The supervisor then explained that Walmart employees were attempting to find the leader of the group to ask them to be quiet for a few minutes while the announcement was made over the intercom about two missing children, whose mother was “frantic.”
“When they couldn’t find the leader and no one was responding to requests for silence, the employee then informed the group that the police would have to be called because the two children were more important,” said the supervisor. “No one ran them off. They chose to leave instead.”
The supervisor also informed us that the group had not called ahead to make arrangements and as such were blocking an area that could result in OSHA non-compliancy.
As a follow-up, the management from Walmart called the school where the young people attended the next day and spoke with the principal and others to explain the situation. They then had the young people back in the store at a set time to sing for customers.
In the end, it appears there was simply a misunderstanding and while many people got their feathers ruffled thinking this was a stifling of Christmas cheer, the reality is that it was nothing of the sort.