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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A shopper has been very impressed by the customer service she receives at a grocery store in Lakeland. It seems an employee’s ability takes him far above his disability, and Tim Simpson has the inspirational story in this week’s Pass It On.

Kroger is the go-to place for many shoppers across the Mid South.  But an employee at this Kroger store on Highway 64 in lakeland really stands out. Our playmaker Linda Menne tells me about Willie B. Wells.

“The thing about Willie is, he’s got such an infectious personality that when you meet him, you go through the line and you talk to him and stuff, then he remembers you,” Linda said. “And I had the opportunity one day–I was at Starbucks in there and he was behind me. I turned around and said, ‘Willie, what do you want to drink?’ 

So, Linda bought Willie’s drink and they sat down for a chat.

“I found out that Willie is wanting to go to the blind conference in New Orleans in July,” Linda said. “He said, ‘I’ve even cut off my cable so that I can afford to go’. The one thing that’s awesome about Willie is that all during the pandemic when he could have stayed at home, and many people did, right. Willie worked.”

And he’s still working.

“He’s always here.  He’s very loyal to kroger, Linda said. “He’s just a wonderful guy!”

“Well, we want to try and get him to that blind conference in New Orleans and I’ve got 1,000 reasons why he needs to go, Tim said. “I’ve got 300 dollars from News Channel 3 plus 700 from our anonymous donors.  That’s a thousand dollars. “

“And I have a hundred dollars that I want too,” Linda said.

At this point, Linda and I walk across the parking lot into the Kroger store. Once inside, there’s Willie!

“hey Willie, it’s Linda,” she said. “Hey, how ya doing?”

Linda explains what’s happening, “Well, guess what?  It’s your turn Willie. We’re going to Pass It On to you.”

Linda counts out the thousand dollars, “and hold one, I’ve got one more in my pocket for you,” she said. “So, there’s a thousand dollars plus… that’s eleven hundred dollars. I think that will get you to New Orleans.”

How does Willie feel?

“We haven’t had our convention in two years and everybody’s looking forward to it, Willie said. “And I am.  And between bills and food and trying to save up for this trip, it’s been tough.  But it’s all going to work out, and it has.”

Willie B. Wells is a stellar Kroger employee who doesn’t let being legally blind slow him down.  This Pass It On cash will help him attend the blind conference in New Orleans next month.