Eight-year-old Joe Finn often finds it overwhelming when he's in a large shop – but he loves helping his mum Pat on their regular trips to our Gosforth store after striking up a special relationship with our fantastic checkout colleague Joan Bailey.
Joan's helped Joe to relax and feel more confident by chatting to him, giving him a seat at her till and even letting him help her scan the shopping – and Pat says Joe, who has cerebral palsy and autism, "loves her to bits".
Pat said: "Sometimes when we go shopping he can be a handful. He can get upset by noises, the wrong lighting, big crowds of people – lots of things. He can get especially upset at the tills in shops for some reason.
"We've found the staff at Asda Gosforth are brilliant with him, especially Joan. Every week for the last year we've gone to her till. She's so pleasant and patient with him and very kind too, he's really connected with her and just loves her to bits.
"She lets him sit at the checkout and scan the last few bits of shopping. He's over the moon to help because he likes helping people. It makes his shopping experience better and ours too – Joe's happy so it's easier for us."
Joe lives with his parents Pat and Des and 16-year-old sister Natasha.
Pat said: "He's a very nice, intelligent lad. He struggles with his mobility a bit and sometimes needs a wheelchair.
"Joan is really good with Natasha too – in fact, all of the staff there are great."
Joan, who's worked on the store's checkouts for 11 years, said: "They're a really lovely family – a delight to serve. When I first served them Joe just started chatting to me. He's really chatty, and it's gone on from there. He always says hello when he comes in, and I've been told he notices if I'm not in, asking people 'where's Joan?'
"He absolutely loves scanning shopping through, so that's his prize if he's been a good boy during the shop.
"We chat about anything and everything, and it relaxes him. It's such a nice feeling to be able to help him and his family every time they come in."
Joe had such a great time on one of his recent visits that he and Pat took lots of photos with Joan. Here's a selection of them:
The store's customer trading manager Vicky Morgan said: "Joan is absolutely lovely; she's brilliant with the customers and it's lovely to see her chatting and laughing with them.
"She's so popular she almost always has a line of customers at her till – most of them queue up just to be served by her."