Wilf Reed – who’s 82 – comes in to our Thornaby store every day of the week and always has a smile on his face as he shops and chats to colleagues like Linda Moody, who’s worked there for 47 years.
Wilf’s daughter Elaine (pictured below, right) said the store has become “a very social outlet for him” since his wife Marion died four years ago.
She said: “He's been going there for donkey's years but they've recently become like a family to him. They really look after him."
Wilf said: "I love going up there – I almost feel like I'm part of the staff! They're all good friends. Linda is very friendly – I've got to know her well over the last few years. We always have a laugh and a joke.”
Linda – who’s worked at the store since leaving school – said Wilf comes in every day to buy papers and magazines from her. “He’s smashing – a real character – and loves to joke around.”
Wilf was born in Thornaby and worked as a labourer and security guard before retiring in 1996. He was married to Marion for 60 years.
He said: “Before my wife passed she told me to look after our children and grandchildren so that's what I do. I like to buy sweets, scented candles and George clothes for the grandchildren. I also pick up bits for myself, magazines and newspapers.
"I've been coming to the store for 50 years, and since I retired I've gone in every morning, seven days a week unless I'm unwell. I either get the bus or one of my daughters gives me a lift.
"I've had pneumonia, a leg operation and I'm suffering from asbestosis, and if I don't come in the staff wonder where I am. They keep an eye out for me."
Linda, who started working at the store in 1970 aged 15, said: “I just love my job. I love the store, I love my colleagues and I love the customers.
“I literally finished school on the Friday and started working here on the Monday – and I've enjoyed it since my very first day. We're like a family here.
"It's just lovely because I live close to the store and I've got to know lots of people in the area through working here.
“I’ve seen little kids come in and grow up, get married and have their own kids. I'm sure I'll be marking 50 years of service soon!”
General store manager Scott Maconachie (pictured above, centre) said: "Linda is a brilliant colleague – she's a cornerstone of the store.
“Her service is outstanding – we always get great comments from customers from her. She's Asda through and through.
"Wilf is a real character with a great sense of humour – a genuinely nice guy – and the colleagues love him. He comes in every day, never complains and always has a smile on his face."