In Bay Pines, Florida, 73-year-old Jan Sullivan worked as a greeter for Wal-Mart for 22 years, right up until last year's Black Friday.
Her job that night, she says a manager had told her, was to stop customers from exiting through the entrance. However, a 40-something-year-old woman wanted, then demanded, to leave through the entrance.
After a brief disagreement, Sullivan says, the woman pushed her. Sullivan says she thought she was falling, so she reached out and clutched the woman's sweater. After she let go, the woman stomped out, and Sullivan never saw her again.
A Wal-Mart manager called Sullivan into a back office about an hour later. He had seen the incident on a security video.
He told her that Walmart employees could not touch customers under any circumstances. He suspended her and told her to leave the property. She wa fired three days later, reports the Tampa Bay Tribune.
A Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said: "Regardless of her intentions, her actions put her own safety and possibly the safety of a customer in jeopardy. We can't condone behavior where associates take matters into their own hands."
Sullivan thought she would at least receive unemployment benefits. But a week after her firing, she learned that her application for benefits had been denied.
Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity determined she had been terminated for "misconduct" and wasineligible to receive any money.
Without a job, Sullivan's life savings have dried up and, for the first time in her life, she owes thousands to a credit card company. Every month she owes $609 on a mortgage and $429 on a 2009 Toyota.
She had no retirement fund with Walmart, but did sell her house and got for $136,000, about $14,000 less than she put into it.