Walmart makes top of CBS Interactive Business Network list of Business Blunders of the Year for firing Wichita worker

WICHITA — Sometimes getting fired can be a good thing.

Just ask Heather Ravenstein, the Walmart worker who lost her job at the West Kellogg Walmart in May after she went against policy and foiled a shoplifter.

First, she continues to receive mostly positive attention for what she did.

On Wednesday, the online CBS Interactive Business Network named Walmart’s action the worst on its list of Business Blunders of the Year.

“Stop, thief! Um … on second thought, never mind,” read the headline.

“It made number one?” Ravenstein said. “Holy cow.”

More importantly, though, Ravenstein is on the path to following her dream of becoming a nurse.

She became a certified nurse assistant and is working at the Haysville Health Care Center.

“I love it,” Ravenstein said. “It has its bad days, but every place does.”

She particularly loves helping people.

“Sometimes it’s being there in their last moments,” Ravenstein said. “You get attached to them.”

When her 5-year-old son, TJ, goes to kindergarten this fall, Ravenstein says she will start nursing school.

Thanks to the CBS report, there was renewed interest in Ravenstein’s story on Wednesday.

A couple of new offers of help came, too. For instance, the Urban League of Kansas wants to help Ravenstein become a nurse.

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Fired Walmart worker receives outpouring of support — and a couple of shots at a new job

WICHITA — What a difference a day makes.

Monday, Heather Ravenstein filed for unemployment after losing her job as a customer service manager at the Walmart on West Kellogg.

She was fired because she violated company policy by foiling a shoplifter’s attempt to steal a computer.

Tuesday, the single mother received an outpouring of support as more people learned of her situation through The Eagle and other news outlets.

“My phone’s been going off the hook,” Ravenstein says.

Mostly it’s friends and former co-workers who have her number, so others have been trying to track her down by calling her former in-laws and by contacting The Eagle.

So far, there are two Wichita businesses that are interested in interviewing Ravenstein for possible jobs.

Her landlord has given her one month’s free rent.

Some people are offering money, including one politician (who prefers to remain anonymous) who would like to buy her a grocery card and a gas card — not from Walmart or Sam’s Club.

People from across the state are supporting Ravenstein with comments like, “I’ve never heard of anything so un-American.”

“They’re getting a lot of heat from this,” Ravenstein says of Wal-Mart.

And Ravenstein is feeling a lot more confident than she did on Monday.

“I’ve got a lot of people backing me up, so I’m OK.”

Wal-Mart employee foils a shoplifter — and loses her job

WICHITA — Heather Ravenstein tried to save Wal-Mart some money Friday by foiling a shoplifter’s plan to steal a $600 computer, but it cost her her job.

“I’m a single mom, and I don’t know what I’m going to do,” says Ravenstein, who is 30.

She’s worked at the West Kellogg Wal-Mart for almost two years, most recently as a customer service manager.

Friday night around 10:20, she was standing near some registers when she saw a man with a computer coming up the main walkway of the store.

“Action Alley is what they call it,” she says.

“He was walking rather fast, so it caught my eye.”

Ravenstein says the man kept walking and set off an alarm. She went after him.

“Let me see your receipt, and then I’ll take this off for you,” she told the man, referring to a sensor on the computer.

Ravenstein says the man refused and kicked her.

“And then he punched me in my shoulder, and then he finally gave up and just let go of the computer.”

Ravenstein walked back into the store and sat on the floor.

“I was shaking pretty bad,” she says.

Assistant store managers immediately checked on her.

“They all came out and made sure I was OK,” Ravenstein says. “They thanked me.”

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