Customers in and around Farnborough have given home shopping driver Rod Enriques the nickname Mr Happy because of his friendly manner and willingness to stop and chat, especially to people who are isolating or living on their own.
Store manager Joanne Glover says Rod regularly receives great feedback for brightening up the day.
Joanne nominated Rod for an Asda customer service award following a call from one grateful customer.
She said: "The lady had been having a really tough time as she'd been isolating and unable to go out, but Rod stopped and had a chat with her and made her smile. It brightened up her day. Nothing is too much trouble for Rod. He has such a positive outlook and is a brilliant driver."
On another occasion when a fellow colleague called in sick Rod came in on his day off to make sure the five shielding customers on the run got their essential groceries.
Rod, who's 42 and has worked at the store for eight years, says he loves being able to make a difference.
"I always double check with my customers to make sure they are okay," he said. "I always ask how they are and how everything is and if they need any help. I just love to make deliveries to those people who are vulnerable and can't go out at the moment.
"They may see their family on technology, but I may be the only person they actually see in real life all day. A chat costs nothing."
Dad-of-three Rod added: "I'm always happy – that's just the way I am. My missus says 'Can't you be quiet' and I say 'I can't help myself!' I'm a very positive thinking person."
The store's e-commerce manager Joelle Harrison says Rod's a really popular figure with customers.
She said: "They all love him – he is brilliant with them. No matter what sort of day he is having he will always take the time to stop and chat. For some of our customers drivers like Rod may be the only person they might see that day."
Rod's supporting our Happy to Chat initiative, which offers delivery 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 while their shopping is being delivered.
The initiative first launched as a trial 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 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 7,500 delivery drivers.