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Moncton, N.B., Walmart workers recognized for help in U.S. child abduction case


It should have just been a regular shift, but instead, it turned into a day employees at a Walmart in Moncton, N.B., will never forget -- the day six-year-old JoJo Morales was found.

“I was so nervous,” said Ajay Gabani, the customer service manager at the Walmart. “But at the end of the day, it was the right thing to do, and I feel proud of myself and the team.”

The young boy from Miami, Fla., had been the subject of an amber alert since August.

A customer spotted the child at the Moncton Walmart in October and alerted store staff who kept him close by until police arrived.

“I just had the two associates who came to me actually put their backs to the isle, just to make sure that if it was him we weren’t in any way going to scare him off,” said Michele Lewis the assistant manager.

“Then, I just proceeded to watch his actions, where he was going, what he was doing -- just keeping an eye on him.”

Police were looking for the child, along with his father and his paternal grandmother who have since been taken into custody.

“Our major crime unit has been in contact with them after we took them into custody,” explained Supt. Benoit Jolette with Codiac RCMP.

“We basically stopped at the point where we took the family into custody. But yes, there has been regular communication. Even since the onset since August we were already aware that there was the potential that they were here in New Brunswick. Because I believe the vehicle was found near the New Brunswick border.”

The employees recognized the boy and his father, but other red flags stood out as well.

“He came to get a sim card and when I asked for his name, he flubbered for a second. And when I asked for his address, what we need to put on file, he needed to look it up on the phone,” said Sardhak Sojidra, a sales associate in electronics.

Now, with JoJo safely at home with his mom again, the celebration continues in Moncton. On Wednesday, RCMP officers handed out certificates of appreciation to those involved.

“When there’s a certain file or a job that’s been done a little bit out of the extraordinary, we like to give these certificates,” said Jolette. “Usually, it’s for employees. I’ve never handed out anything to any civilian.”

He says it was an act to highlight the crucial role they played that day.

“Without their actions, that young boy could still be out there somewhere missing from his family,” he said.

It was an unexpected series of events that left everyone feeling proud as they reflect on the day.

“This is not a normal situation by any means, it was something that when you think to integrity and you think about doing the right thing, they exhibited every single moment,” said co-manager Natasha Keeling.

Adding, “they saw, they listened and they took action and that’s really what it was all about so I’m super proud of the team.”

It’s bound to be a day that they won’t soon forget.

“That feeling is amazing. It’s, I cannot describe it,” said Gabani. Top Stories

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