Customers at GIANT Food Stores in Hellertown, Pennsylvania, are familiar with “Marty,” a tall robotic assistant that has been in stores since 2019. He’s able to help identify hazards, such as spills, and has gone viral for his googly eyes and “facial” expressions.
However, Marty’s job is mainly an indoor one, and rarely does he venture off on his own — until recently.
One Pennsylvania grocery shopper in the Lehigh Valley area posted a video showing Marty on the loose in a store parking lot before employees wrangled him and got him back inside.
A spokesperson for GIANT told Nexstar’s WHTM that Marty “was just on a fresh air break.”
The viral video has nearly half a million views on Facebook, with comments saying, “Be free Marty, be free,” and “I love Marty more than ever now.”
According to GIANT, the robotic assistant was being deployed to all GIANT and MARTIN’S Food Stores thanks to a partnership between Ahold Delhaize USA services company Retail Business Services, GIANT, and Jabil subsidiary Badger Technologies.
“Bringing robotics and A.I. from a research lab to the sales floor has been a very exciting journey, and we were thrilled by the customer response in our pilot stores,” said Nicholas Bertram, president, GIANT Food Stores in 2019. “Our associates have worked hard to bring this innovation to life with amazing partners.”
The Marty program was piloted in Pennsylvania at the Union Deposit Road location in Harrisburg and the Spring Garden Street store in Carlisle.