This story appeared in the March 23, 2014, edition of the Morning News in Florence, S.C., and we loved it so much that we just had to share it on the blog with you. We are proud to count Diane as part of our Walmart family.
By Lindsay S. Buchanan
(Photo credit Lindsay Buchanan/Morning News)
FLORENCE, S.C. – Diane Robinson is always happy to go to work. Always. She never grumbles, never resents having to wake up at 4:30 a.m., and every time she receives the schedule for her shifts as a people greeter at Walmart she thanks the Lord for her job.
As a diabetic and an amputee, Ms. Diane, 57, has plenty of things to complain about if the mood struck her – but it never does.In fact, in listening to Ms. Diane one is sure to hear the exact opposite.
“I’m so happy I don’t know what to do,” she said about her job where she greets everyone who walks through the door with a smile and words of kindness. “When I see this building I say, ‘Thank you Jesus, this building’s still here.’ I see the people and everything and I’m just so grateful. It’s like I died and went to heaven.”
While many may take their job for granted and complain about the little irritations that can pile up at work, Ms. Diane sees every day as a way to start over and do better than the day before.
“I know how people are, but I pray to the Lord all the time – I stay prayed up,” she said. “And when I go home I pray to the Lord and say, ‘Lord if you wake me tomorrow I’ll get up and do it again and do it even better.’ I just put the Lord ahead of it. When He wakes me up I just think about the job and the customers and I get on up and get dressed and come on.”
Ms. Diane has worked at the South Florence Walmart on Irby Street for eight and half years, and during that time she’s faced her share of hard times. In 2010 she had to have part of her leg amputated due to complications from diabetes.
But to hear Ms. Diane tell it, the only hard thing about that time was being kept away from work waiting for a prosthetic so she could learn to walk again.
“I just thank the Lord I’m back to work,” she said. “I just kept telling them (her doctors), ‘I don’t care what you give me.’ I’d make them laugh saying, ‘Give me a stick, give me something.’ And they would say, ‘We know. We’re going to get it (a prosthetic) for you.’
“I’d say, ‘Yes, please, because I love my job and I love Walmart.’ And they’d say, ‘We know; you’re the Walmart lady.’ And I would say, ‘Yes I am!’”
She kept the doctors laughing through what was supposed to be a year long recovery period, and begged them so often to let her return to work – even asking on the operating table when she would be able to go back – that when eight months had passed the doctor happily reported that he thought she was ready.
Still, the doctor was concerned about Ms. Diane standing on her feet greeting customers and wondered if Walmart might be willing to provide a chair for her through an Americans with Disabilities Act accommodation. He wrote a letter for Ms. Diane to give to her human resources manager, Susan Kennedy, and soon after her chair was delivered from Walmart’s home office.
“I was so happy that Ms. Susan could help me to get the chair, and it helps a lot,” she said. “You can stand on it (the prosthetic) – don’t get me wrong – but sometimes a pressure would come down on it and with the chair you can sit down and relax yourself and be able to get back up and stand.
“I told them (Walmart human resources) it’s the ‘die and go home to heaven chair’ because it came from heaven and then you could die and go on home back to heaven in it! I wouldn’t mind working here until I die. I pray the Lord do let me work here and that if I die it’s while I’m working.”
Ms. Diane did have a period of unemployment once where she experienced what it felt like not to have a job. Needless to say, she didn’t like it.
“It’s boring sitting at home and not having anything to do, and looking for a job is very boring and sad and lonely,” she said. “I’d rather have one than not. When you get one you’ll be glad to have it. Whew, it’s a blessing.”
Ms. Diane has become such a happy fixture in her post as greeter that she has a number of customers who make a point to speak with her when they come in.
“I have a lot of them, and I love it,” she said. “I enjoy getting out and walking and meeting the customers. The little babies come in and on up to the elderly; I love them all.”
When she does take a break from her job, Ms. Diane’s favorite things to do are driving, which she has been doing since the age of 13, reading anything she can get her hands on especially the Bible, and exercising.
But mostly she just loves her job.
“I thank the Lord and I love the Lord for the job,” she said. “And I thank the company (Walmart) for the chair and I was so glad Ms. Susan could do it for me. I love my job and I love the company and the customers.”