Safeway employees and managers said a tearful farewell to beloved longtime employee Linda Davis last week.
At 2 p.m. on Friday the 13th, Davis found himself in his manager’s office, just steps away from the company’s Starbucks, stock room, and employee break room. These are all places Davis has called home for the past 46 years.
This was unusual for Davis, as her working hours for nearly 50 years were from 6:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
When her shift ended on January 9th, it was the last shift of her Sterling career at Safeway on the corner of West Platt Avenue and West Street.
“Oh, it was heartbreaking,” said the store’s assistant manager, Grace Roberts. “(I’m) happy to see her go out and be with her family and she’s doing her own thing, but (she’s not) coming in and checking her out.” Every day I don’t see her in…”
Roberts may not have finished her thoughts, but Relief Shop director Der Ruf did.
“It’s going to be crazy,” Raf said.
On Monday, the store hosted a retirement party at the store for lifelong Fort Morgan resident Davis. I split. It was a bittersweet occasion.
“Sad, very sad,” Rafe laments Davis’ final days. “It was her duality[feelings]. We were so happy for her. I will miss you.”
The trio, now former colleagues but forever friends, reflect on their careers, their friendships, and the entire Davis legacy.
Davis’ first day at Fort Morgan Safeway was in March 1977. At her 28, she started with the stocking crew.
A year later she became a cashier. I do it for people. ”
She took the job because it was a good company that offered solid benefits and good wages for someone like her.
Mr. Davis said he has been with the company for over 40 years because the company provided great benefits and plenty of time off.
Ruff, who worked with Davis for six years, started out as a cashier. Davis, or “Mama Linda,” took her under her wing from the start.
“She gave you a knack and she was really great about it,” Ruff said. “You feel (her) good vibes.”
Roberts began working with Davis almost four years ago. She said having someone like Davis is paramount in the retail environment.
“She was my power person,” said Roberts.
“It’s hard to believe…I could be an inspiration or something. It’s hard to believe…because I’m just normal,” Davis said.
Raf and Roberts politely say otherwise.
Ruff is quick to point out Davis’ ability to talk to anyone in any position, making her feel like the most important person she’s ever met.
“She may be having the worst day ever, but she’s still worried about you.” I haven’t found it.”
“You just have a very positive outlook on life,” Roberts told Davis.
The warmth and wisdom of her words are part of her. There are no books or aisles where she gets it.
“That’s how I do it,” she said. “I think I was like his father. He was. He was a very sweet and kind person.”
Davis’ ability to care for her colleagues sets her apart from the rest. Roberts’ mother has had several strokes, but Davis always takes extra care to keep the two in check.
“Mom will come and give Linda a hug. You are very important to my family, too,” Roberts told Davis.
Raf explains that two types of customers entered the store. One type came and went. Another type of him was the people waiting in line at checkout stand 3.
“Some people complained that Linda’s lines were long because people wanted to wait for Linda,” Raf said.
Checkout Stand 3 was “home” for Davis for most of his tenure. Roberts introduced the idea of putting a picture of Ms. Linda on that stand, and Ruff went a step further by saying it should be called “Linda’s Trail.” The idea was an epiphany, and Ruff said it would be a tribute to his Davis.
Davis said it can be hard to leave behind customers he’s met over the years.
One of the gifts she received at her retirement party was a large construction paper board filled with wishes, thanks and appreciation from colleagues and customers.
“I was so overwhelmed. I thought, ‘I can’t believe I know so many people,'” she said. “And it made me think more about it. I didn’t think so many people would care about me and reply, so it was very overwhelming.”
“You’re just with them. You don’t know if you’re making an impact, if you’re just being yourself, or if I’m just being myself.”
When asked what advice Roberts and Raf would take now that Davis no longer has shifts and is no longer chatting to customers in Lane 3, the latter held back tears when asked what advice Roberts and Raf would take.
“I can’t tell you how many times in the last six months you’ve told me you have this. I don’t feel like I’ve got this,” Ruff told Davis.
Davis smiled and repeated, “I get this.” Ruff has been running the store alone for six months, but usually he’s three.
“She’s great,” Davis comments of Raf. “Both of these girls are amazing.”
Davis’ retirement was the inevitable end of a great career, but it was the end many didn’t want to see at all.
There are so many people and interactions that she misses.
“Oh no,” she replied expressionlessly as to whether or not she’d miss the uniform.
She also added that she never misses waking up for her 6 a.m. shift. As a retiree, her top priority is rest, she said. After she gets some rest, she plans to spend time with her family. Shop, of course, at stores where her legacy is cherished.
“Number one: A huge heart,” Rafe said of Mama Linda’s legacy. increase.”
According to Roberts, Ms. Linda is the model stores use to show what customer service should be like. Roberts added that she considers Davis to be her grandmother. Upon hearing that, Davis humbly said it was overwhelming to be seen that way because it’s normal in her eyes.Her friends say she has countless words to describe her and reassure her.
Raf was also careful to point out another part of Davis’ legacy.
“Oh my god, how many times have you paid for people going through the register who don’t have money?” she asked.
Mr. Davis never thought twice about helping people if they were a few cents or dollars short of the total. I said I had spare change in it.
Roberts made a loud statement that many of his colleagues would echo.
“Linda, I wish I could have spent 46 years with you.”
“Then you’re old and you don’t want to be old,” Davis jokingly replied.