The Eagle Scout who says he was berated by an employee of a Virginia hardware store said he was simply exercising what he’s learned from Scouting — citizenship, leadership and preparedness.
Daniel Thomas said he was shocked and disappointed by the worker’s words.
“I didn’t expect what happened to happen because, just, small town. Everybody is supposed to be nice,” he said.
He’s working on a community service project, a kayak shed for a local body of water, and he needed donations.
“Lumber, different wood and some hardware,” Daniel said.
Nichols Hardware in Purcellville seemed to be a likely option until he and his father encountered one worker.
“I approached the counter and I introduced myself, said I’m working on my Eagle Scout project,” Daniel said.
The father and son said they were thrown out of store.
“I asked him if Nichols Hardware would be willing to donate, and he said no and told me to get out,” Daniel said.
“And I said, ‘Excuse me?’” said Daniel’s father, Chip. “And at that point he said, ‘You heard me. Leave.’”
“He said, ‘The Scouts have been ruined by the politically correct crowd. Ever since they got a piece of the Scouts and let the homosexuals and the girls in there, it’s been ruined,’” Chip Thomas said.
“I was kind of shocked,” Daniel said. “I figured everybody liked the Boy Scouts. We hadn’t really done anything to Purcellville to make them hate us.”
The Troop 962 scoutmaster issued a statement to News4 reading in part, “This incident appears to be an isolated event and does not reflect the broad support that our troop or our fellow troops have received from the citizens of western Loudoun for the last six decades.”
The incident is another lesson for Daniel — a tool he’s sure to use again in his journey through life.
“Don’t just give up just because you’ve been put down,” he said.
The store fired that employee this week and issued a statement apologizing for his comments.
The Thomas family said that’s sufficient for them.
“You don’t take that out on a 17-year-old boy seeking a donation for a community service project,” Chip Thomas said.
The family accepted the apology and will continue to shop at the store.
Many in the community have offered support to Daniel and Troop 962. You can make contributions to Lovettsville Lions Charities, PO Box 162, Lovettsville, VA 20180 with the memo: Eagle Scouts.