On March 27, 88-year-old Bob Tallinger was working as a greeter when a wild turkey entered the Waukesha, Wisconsin, Walmart store he’d been employed for 8-years.
According to ABC Affiliate WISN, Tallinger described the event as follows: “It starts, and it goes back around, and then it walks out.”
Mark Hess, an official with the Humane Animal Welfare Society, was called out to the scene.
“They were able to shoo the bird out, but they said he wouldn’t leave. So, I drove out to Walmart and I saw two ladies playing with a turkey in the patio section of the Walmart,” Hess said.
Hess caught the bird, and Tallinger went about his work day.
A few days later, Tallinger, who said his job was the “highlight of his days,” was fired. He was surprised to find out that he was being fired over the turkey incident.
Supervisors say Tallinger should have informed a manager about the curious bird’s presence.
His wife Janet explained that he never learned that rule. “He was hired to be a greeter and that’s what he did. He never saw a book of rules that said if a wild turkey comes in here, you better run and get management,” she said.
She admitted that her husband’s memory isn’t perfect, but contends he’s still a good employee. “That hasn’t prevented him from being an excellent greeter.’
Walmart confirmed that Tallinger is no longer an employee in this statement:
“We appreciate the public’s concern and take this situation seriously. While we will not comment on HR matters, we can confirm Mr. Tallinger is no longer with the company.”
Tallinger, who says he knows a lot of the people at the store, was popular. He says that he’ll miss “them people” the most.
The bird at the center of the controversy was let go in the wild, unharmed.
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