Greeters learn to shop and smell the roses

Brittany Whitley Community

Hundreds of hurried feet beat the concrete floors behind their empty buggies and alongside their swaying blue baskets through the entryway of one of Madison’s most frequented stores. Belonging to the bodies of those hurried feet are hundreds of expressive faces. And there to greet those many faces are the waiting faces of Walmart’s People Greeters. 

Locals flooding the store’s entrance may peripherally catch a greeter organizing carts, checking receipts, speaking to other customers, or simply welcoming them to the store as they pass by. Most times greeters go overlooked because of the hustle and bustle of life – the busyness of meeting demands, the consumption of life’s worries – but their job is not to overlook you. 

With a smile that could take up her entire face, Claudette Williams, a greeter of almost 12 years, has found peace in the commonality beneath the various facial expressions and rushed movements. 

After nodding “have a good day, now” to passing customers, Williams shared, “Everybody is just trying to get through the day and when you are friendly and kind to people, that’s the blessing that you pass on.”

She realizes that essentially “everyone shares the same needs” and burdens of life, which allows her to embrace her purpose to encourage those she sees, especially those who show their rough days through their mannerisms. 

“I love people, that’s the joy,” Williams said, “and being a Christian, you treat everybody the same because God loves all of us.”

People Greeter Viki Kennedy said that within her first year of fulfilling this role she has acknowledged that everyone has a story to tell and that many people like to stop and share them with her.

“I love talking to the people,” Kennedy stated. “I meet really nice people.”

To change the world one customer at a time, Williams said, “I would tell them that God made us all the same and loves all us.”

While Kennedy said, “I would just be nice to people.”

If you could change the world by pausing long enough to see the person passing, standing, or sitting beside you, what would you do?

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