The manager asked James to come to the front desk, but he wasn't in trouble. The employees asked him to sing it again because the workers at the front could only barely hear him.
It’s a social media post that just makes you grin, and it’s going viral from right here at Lake of the Ozarks.
Visiting Ohio resident James Fruits’ Facebook post with a video and photos taken by his son of him singing the National Anthem on the intercom of the Osage Beach Walmart had reached more than 100,000 views by Tuesday morning after first being posted Saturday night.
“I love doing crazy things like challenging people to arm wrestle, and I’m not an arm wrestling kind of guy. I just love doing crazy idiot-in-public type of stuff. People love it, and it’s funny,” he says.
James works for a large church in Cleveland, Ohio. He does music and creates videos and graphics to go along with the message for services. That’s his full-time profession, and he also deejays on the side.
So the guy who says he likes to “do ridiculous things in public” has sung in Walmart stores before though not a lot, and taped it this time to prove it to a friend.
It started awhile back when he was at a Walmart around midnight with a friend and he recalled the old days of TV when the stations would sign off for the day around midnight by playing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
“We were being ridiculous and loud, and I thought of that, so I proceeded to sing the National Anthem,” he says.
It should be noted that James has been singing in church all of his life and studied vocal music at Greenville College in Greenville, Ill., near St. Louis.
“I’ve been doing music all my life. I love music and playing wherever I can,” James says.
Then recently, someone he knew on Facebook shared a post to copy and say something about their friends that they were confident that person would have been the only one on their friend list to have done.
James, of course, said he had to be the only person on the list to sing the National Anthem in Walmart. His friend required video proof though, and it was on. James said next time he was at Walmart, he’d do it.
Well, the next time just so happened to be at the Walmart in Osage Beach.
The Cleveland resident is originally from Warrenton, but visits the Lake of the Ozarks every summer around the 4th of July to meet up with his family at his parents’ condominium here. He and his seven siblings are spread out all over the country, but love their annual week-long gathering at the lake.
Out at the Osage Beach Walmart Friday night, he found the flag aisle and had his son videotape him singing with the flag.
“I’ve got a loud voice, and it carries through the store. There was no music playing. So people could kind of hear it, and people started gathering, employees were gathering. I could tell they were kind of wondering what to think at first, whether they should be concerned or not. Then people were cheering, and I was talking to I think an associate manager,” says James.
The manager asked James to come to the front desk, but he wasn’t in trouble. The employees asked him to sing it again because the workers at the front could only barely hear him. He said yes as long as he got to sing on the intercom.
They got permission, and James made the amazing performance that his friend later posted to a closed Lake area Facebook group and he then posted to his page.
“It got a great response [at the store]. Everybody loved it. They gave me, you know, one of those silly Walmart capes. One of them hands me the Walmart cape and a $10 gift card. I found out later the employees paid for the gift card out of their own pockets. They wanted to give me something for singing and entertaining everybody. It was a lot of fun. It was great,” James says.
Once it got posted to his page and could be shared, it started steamrolling and was shared on social media by multiple news outlets, including Lake Sun/LakeNewsOnline.
“It was amazing to see so many people sharing it. I love it. I love that people were moved by it or enjoyed it so much,” says James. “I feel like my life’s mission is to make a difference wherever I am whether that’s in my hometown volunteering at schools or church or while I’m shopping at Walmart on vacation. I want to make the world a better place however I can, and I’m thrilled that, in such an unexpected way, I could do that.”