"He's the loveliest human! Always has a kind word and a smile – absolute legend". This is just one of hundreds of fantastic comments people have been leaving on Facebook about David Stooks from our Bideford store.
Sixty-four-year-old David, who has a snow white beard, is affectionately known locally as Father Christmas and even dresses up as the big man when families come to his booth at the store's petrol filling station.
One regular customer recently posted on the local Bideford Banter Facebook group: "The guy who works at Asda Bideford petrol station with the white hair and beard should gain the title of local legend."
The post got hundreds of likes and comments with people in full agreement. Here's just a few examples:
- Love that man, always happy polite and cheery. Brightens my day, always. X
- He's a huge dog lover too, and always has a treat if you have your dog in the car. Such a lovely friendly guy
- He’s literally the best ever! I think this every single time I go to that hut and he’s there! Always makes me have a well good day
- We call him Father Christmas 🎅,he always puts a smile on our faces
- I love it when he's in the booth. Such a gent, always smiling and love he plays along as Santa. My kids always roll down their windows to chat to him too
- He's one in a million a gentleman and always happy
David has been nominated for an Asda service superstar award by Amy Bissett, the store manager at our Barnstaple store, who lives in Bideford.
She said: "I regularly get my fuel from the petrol station at Bideford and see David, who's a really, kind nice man.
"When I saw all the lovely comments about him I just had to put him forward for the award."
Her views were echoed by Asda Bideford store manager Darren Nelson, who said: "David really is a local legend. He is a bit of a character and the locals love him. He's very much part of the furniture here.
"He has an extremely pleasant and happy personality and always brings a smile to our customers. He will do anything for anyone. Being on the manned petrol station he interacts with a good part of the local community. He's so well known and is a great ambassador for Asda."
David, who's worked at the store for six years, has been married to Dawn for 42 years and has two grown-up children, Sophie and Donald.
He said he was taken aback by all the kind comments on the Facebook post: "I had no idea that there was that depth of feeling. It's phenomenal, I can't believe it, I really can't. Basically I am just doing my job, but I'm doing it in the way I'd like to be treated.
"It's just fantastic meeting all the customers who come in. Most people are absolutely brilliant but some are exceptional. You strike up a good rapport with all the locals and regulars who come in and it's great to have a laugh with people. I try to remember bits about them so I can ask them next time they are in.
"I dress up as Santa every year for the kids and I also go to the local centre for adults with learning disabilities and dish out presents to them too. I have a white beard but I have trimmed it back a bit. I'll grow it again for Christmas.
"It's lovely to see the kids, but some of the adults like seeing me dressed up too, bless 'em. I get asked by the adults where the tricycle and the train set were that they'd asked for!"
And when he'd asked by the children why Santa is working in Asda he replies: "I tell them what with with everything being expensive at the moment I have to have a second job to feed the elves and the reindeers!"