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Welcome to Walmart! ‘Can’t control a whole lot, but I can control my smile’

Welcome to Walmart! ‘Can’t control a whole lot, but I can control my smile’

Don Blessing | (Courtesy of Port Angeles Walmart)

It’s easy to imagine that the most valuable players in a business are the ones at the top. The chief executive officers, the board presidents, the corporate financial wizards. They matter. But so do the business players at the bottom.

Indeed, it’s the employees beneath all the team leaders and supervisors that can make a business thrive.

Now, Don was one of those bottom dwellers — it was a retirement job to supplement his social security check. It didn’t require a fancy degree, only a willingness to be nice. Don was our local Walmart greeter.

He was good with faces —and recognized his shoppers. He never failed to greet each person who walked through those automatic doors. Sure, there was his smile, but it was his willingness to share a bit about life with those who lingered for an extra moment or two. His joy was infectious, and I couldn’t help but smile right back.  Don let kindness rule his work day.  In his words, "Can't control a whole lot, but I can control my smile."

I imagined that having only one arm to do all the shopping cart hauling, might have been an impediment, but not to Don. As he reached to give me a cart, he’d smile, and offer a different story about how he'd lost his arm every time I came through. We’d laugh and then he’d thank me for coming in.

He was a faithful man who loved his wife. He lost her just a few years ago. You could tell the light dimmed in his eyes after her death, but his willingness to work hard never wavered. He was just shy of 99 years young when he recently passed away.

I can now picture Don in heaven, doing what he seemed to love most — greeting others with a smile and genuine heart of kindness. He was a true MVP — not at the top of the corporate ladder, but just inside those automatic doors — with a smile and a sincere greeting.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that Don’s last name is Blessing. His legacy remains in many hearts, and perhaps he’ll inspire others to carry on. I hope so.

“And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” Romans 12:8

Karen Farris saw the need to help underserved kids while serving in a youth ministry that gave her the opportunity to visit rural schools on the Olympic Peninsula. She now volunteers her time grant writing to bring resources to kids in need. She also shares stories of faith in action for those needing a dose of hope on her weekly blog, Friday Tidings.www.fridaytiding.com

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