EAST GREENBUSH, NY(NEWS10) – It was the job opportunity Thomas Smith had been waiting for.
“I was homeless for four months”, said Smith.
With no money and living off food stamps, late in the summer he landed a job at the East Greenbush Walmart rounding up carts.
“For $9 an hour I wasn’t taking any chances on losing my job”, said Smith.
While trying to clean up his life and clean up the parking lot, Smith told me he spotted a cart full of empty bottles and cans.
“I brung em inside put them in the machine got a receipt for it”, said Smith.
He redeemed $3.10 from that.
“There was another couple that came in with bottles just before that”, said Smith.
Smith said they left their cart full of recyclables which he redeemed for $2.
“She tried to say they was already used but they was not already used”, said smith.
Walmart said the story that Smith was fired because of cans from outside of the store is untrue.
“He was terminated for theft inside the store”, said a Walmart spokesperson.
Walmart told me over the phone that Smith redeemed quote “cans that were already paid for inside the store” and he told me Smith admitted to that.
“He was aware of that and provided a written statement admitting to the crime”, said the Walmart spokesperson.
Smith told me he never received a copy of that statement.
“I was just trying to get my life back together. I do not want to go back to committing crimes”, said Smith.
Meanwhile as outrage swells against Walmart across the country for Smith’s firing, his GoFundMe page has already raised thousands. And Friday, Smith had a message for those supporting him.
“God bless those people who support me. I thought I was all alone left for dead”, said Smith.