This Christmas we're celebrating some of the wonderful Asda colleagues who are going above and beyond to deliver kindness to customers who may otherwise be feeling isolated or lonely during the festive season.
As part of the initiative, our delivery drivers have the option of wearing a ‘Happy to Chat’ badge to let customers know they have time for them, while our stores' community champions are working with local school children to create Christmas cards for local care homes and those isolated in the community, as well as supporting virtual community networking events to bring together isolated or lonely people and share tips and advice. Read more here
Here are just a few of the things our kind-hearted colleagues have been doing to help customers in the run-up to Christmas:
Kind-hearted Gemma Parish (pictured above) helped an elderly customer who'd collapsed in our Daubhill store in Bolton before continuing to sort out and pay for his shopping.
Gemma looked after the gentleman when he felt dizzy and fell over. She stayed with him for half an hour, reassuring him until he felt better.
The store reimbursed Gemma for her kindness and store manager Ava Joyce, who nominated Gemma for an Asda award, said: "The customer – who's a regular here – had a small amount of shopping and was panicking that he needed it, so Gemma went and paid for it from her own pocket so that the gentlemen had his essentials. She then arranged for him to get a taxi home. This was a lovely gesture and we are all very proud of her here." Gemma only joined the store in July but has quickly become a popular member of the team. Ava said: "Gemma's a lovely caring colleague who always goes above and beyond."
The home shopping team at our Rawtenstall store are proud to wear the Happy to Chat badges, and are always willing to stop for a chat and a natter.
Regular Asda customer Carol posted on Facebook to say how much she loves the friendly home shopping drivers from store. She said: "They are always pleasant and ready for a little chat whenever we need to. It's like Christmas every Friday when we receive our delivery... I've been saying that since March!"
Our store's e-commerce support manager Misty said: "We've a really good team here and everyone is so friendly. We always strive to give a personal touch to our customers. For a lot of them the only contact they have with people is when we call with the shopping and our drivers are only too happy to have a chat.
At our Strabane store home shopping driver Darragh Morrison and his colleagues know that stopping to chat to some of their customers who may otherwise be on their own may just make their day.
Home shopping driver Hannah Johnson, who's based at our Yeovil store, says finding a few minutes for a friendly chat with customers who may otherwise be feeling lonely or isolated can really make a big difference to their day.
Hannah said: "We're in quite a rural area and we cover a lot of people who are isolated even when the pandemic isn't happening. We deliver to a lot of little old ladies who just want a chat. At the moment it just makes their day if we stop for a few minutes as they say they don't see anyone. They are very lonely. Their son or daughter may live somewhere else in the country and does the ordering for them. They just want us to stop for a chat as we'll be the only people they will probably see all week.
"A lot of the time they will say 'I don't want to keep you' but I'll say that I'm very happy to chat. There's more to being a home shopping driver than just delivering groceries!"
When our Hartlepool store's community champion Jackie Carroll found out that an elderly lady with dementia was struggling to get hold of her favourite sponge pudding she made it her mission to get her some and deliver it to her door!
Jackie said: "A customer's mam, who will only eat Mr Kipling's sponge puddings, was a little upset as we didn't have any in stock at the time their home shopping order was picked. She got in contact with me and I said I'd see what I can do. When I saw that we'd got some lemon ones in I took them round, social distancing of course, and made the lady find her smile again. Little things do mean a lot and she was very grateful."
Our Gloucester store's kind community champion Fay Edwards not only arranged for Christmas treats to be delivered to elderly residents cared for by Gloucester Charities Trust but also hand wrote Christmas cards for them too!
When colleagues at our Spennymoor store heard that regular customers Anne and Malcom Hoole would be spending their 40th wedding anniversary on their own because of lockdown restrictions they pulled out all the stops to make sure they still had a day to remember.
The couple's niece Margaret McLean, who lives in Glasgow, contacted the store to see if she could arrange to have some presents delivered to them, but the store's community champion Donna Dargue and deputy store manager Debra Brassell went one better, organising a whip-round among their colleagues and taking round wine, flowers, chocolates, cakes and balloons.
Donna said: "When we went round to the house we didn't have a clue who they were, so it was big surprise when they opened the door and I found it was Mr and Mrs Hoole who have shopped with us for as long as I can remember. I've been at the store for 16 years and I've served them every Thursday! With what's going on people just need that little bit of a boost. We thought it would be nice to help them to have a bit of celebration and we hope they both had an amazing day."
Robert Muirhead, who's based at our Grangemouth store, is already seeing the difference he can make by sparing a few seconds to chat to a customer who may not otherwise see a friendly face all day.
Robert said: "I went to an old lady last week and she almost had me in tears as she said I was the only person she'd seen in nine days. When I started to chat to her she was so happy and she said I'd made her day, which made me really happy as well. The stuff I was talking about was just like what she was watching on the TV. She said she couldn't wait till later that night as EastEnders was on and because I like EastEnders we talked about that. I asked her who her favourite characters were and she was so happy. She just kept chatting away. I was really thankful that I made her day."
Our ever-cheerful home shopping driver Ted Taylor, who's based at our Clacton-on-Sea store, who went out of his way to make sure all his customers got their deliveries after his van broke down.
Everyone at our Robroyston store is so touched by the kindness of their colleague Diana Benson and her family who decided not to buy each other Christmas gifts but instead donate presents for people who need them more.
Kiosk colleague Diana said: "With what has been going on this year and many people losing their jobs, my kids, Hannah and Nicole, didn't really want to do Christmas like we normally do. We thought there's nothing we need for ourselves so why not help someone else."
Our store's community champion Grace McIntyre said: "They bought all these gifts and then asked me to give them to a local group so I said Glasgow’s No1 Baby & Family Support Service. How lovely of Diana and her family, I was totally overwhelmed by their kindness."
Kind-hearted colleague Linda from our Dagenham store has been knitting outfits for the local hospital's maternity ward:
And five-year-old Leo Kelly has been hailed a local hero for raising £2,000 for the Atherton and Leigh Foodbank by taking part in a 21-mile sponsored bike ride. When our Leigh store's community champion Gwen Appleton heard about Leo's amazing efforts she pulled out all the stops to give him a day to remember when he called in with his mum Emma, grandma Moira and aunts Fiona and Anne to fill trolleys of food for the food bank.
And when fellow colleagues and customers heard what Leo had done they clapped and cheered him as he left the store.
Gwen said: "He's a local hero and we are pleased we had the privilege of helping. Warren, from the food bank who I've supported for the past seven years in store, was overwhelmed by Leo's efforts.
"It was such a lovely kind gesture for someone so young and it means so much, particularly at this time of year. We couldn't be more proud of him. Well done Leo, you've shown the true spirit of Christmas."
Check out the amazing makeup skills of Isla Fairfield, who works at our Grangemouth distribution centre:
When our caring colleague Rachel Cunningham saw a homeless man sitting outside in the cold by our Middleton store in Leeds she just knew she had to do something to help him.
She got him a hot chocolate and a slice of pizza from our cafe, as well as buying and filling up a hot water bottle for him, before contacting a local homelessness group to get him shelter for the night – and he's now being assessed for housing.
Rachel, who's the store's community champion, said: "I'd just popped outside to get another trolley for our food bank donations when I saw him sitting on the ground. I knelt down and had chat with him and learned that he was living in a tent and he was hungry.
"It was very cold. I couldn't just walk by – no way.
"I got him some hot food and a drink and filled up a hot water bottle for him and then, using my community contacts, got hold of the homeless outreach team who managed to get him a bed in a hotel on the other side of Leeds. I don't think anyone should be homeless, not in this day and age."
Thank you to all our colleagues and customers who've shared so much kindness this month and throughout the year. Happy Christmas everyone!