Eleven-year-old Dexter McDonald loves seeing friendly home shopping drivers Wayne Bullock and Jan Griffiths from our Wrexham store when they drop off the family's groceries as they always stop for a friendly chat and beep their van horns when they see him.
They've made such a big impression on Dexter, who is autistic and has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, that he asked for a special Asda van cake for his birthday.
His mum Donna said: "We've been having Asda deliveries every week since last March because of the pandemic and it has become the highlight of Dexter's week.
"He absolutely loves the Asda van coming, especially when they beep their horns. The drivers have been brilliant and always do it for him. Even when they are driving past and delivering to our neighbours they will automatically beep and give a wave.
"One of the drivers even bought him an Asda van toy, bless him, as he knew just how much Dexter loved them.
"All the drivers are brilliant with Dexter and always interact with him. There's two I know the names of, Wayne and Jan. They've been amazing – really friendly and chatty. We couldn't say anything better about them.
"Our deliveries are alway on a Friday morning and Dexter gets very excited. When he sees them he always shouts, 'Can you beep your horn, can you beep your horn?' – and they always do.
"Dexter loves bringing the shopping through to the kitchen and always goes through everything we have bought. His favourite thing at the moment is to watch on YouTube people with their shopping – their shopping hauls!"
For his birthday this year the main thing he asked for was an Asda van cake so the family had one made locally by Julie's Bespoke Handmade Cakes. He celebrated his big day with Donna, dad Martin and younger brother Rueben at his home in Wrexham.
Donna said: "She always makes the birthday cakes for the boys, but I set her a task on this one as I don't think she has ever done an Asda van cake before! She did a great job and Dexter loved it."
Oliver Bradley, the store's e-commerce trading manager, says the store's drivers all support the Happy to Chat initiative, which has now been extended after a trial period before Christmas.
It offers drivers the option to add a new element to their uniform: a ‘Happy to Chat’ badge to let customers know they’re happy to have a quick chat with them whilst their shopping is being delivered.
Oliver said: "I know that if they they can make one person's day just a little bit brighter then they will.
"When I heard about the kindness Wayne and Jan had displayed it didn't surprise me because it is very much in their nature to put smiles on people's faces.
"The whole team at Asda Wrexham are very proud of them and of all our drivers who have delivered a fantastic service to all our customers during a very difficult and challenging period."
The Happy To Chat initiative first launched in November in conjunction with the Royal Voluntary Service after it was recognised that the drivers formed a lifeline for some people throughout the pandemic, with almost a quarter (23%) of customers admitting they were only interacting with people once a week - many of whom were delivery drivers.
After a positive response and uptake from drivers, we are now making the badges a permanent option for all of our 7,500 delivery drivers.