Photo by Kara Thorpe
Warrenton Harris Teeter
We all know how something as simple as a friendly face, a smile, and some kind words can brighten our day. Many customers, especially seniors, appreciate this from Danita Arone, a cashier at Harris Teeter.
Grocery store employees have come into the spotlight in the last few weeks as we realize how important they are to our lives as an integral part of the supply chain for one of our most basic needs: food. They are appreciated more than ever for their hard work and service that puts them, and their families, at risk. Those that go the extra mile to provide excellent service and make customers feel valued are to be treasured.
“Danita is a true favorite of so many of us who shop at Harris Teeter on Thursday/Senior Day. She has quite a following. While I think all the checkers at Harris Teeter are excellent, Danita has her own following, even to the point of customers waiting in line for her. She is just a lovely person,” said customer Judy Slaughter.
Why does Danita feel she’s so well liked? “Seniors really like me. I’m older myself, so we kind of relate. I’m just really friendly to them, and I ask about their lives. I seem to get along with just about everybody, I try to make sure they know that we care about them,” she said.
Danita, who worked at a Harris Teeter in Delaware for three years before relocating and starting at the Warrenton store, works two days a week. She lives with and cares for her elderly parents at their home in Marshall. “That’s my main job,” she explained. Her favorite things to do to get out of the house and socialize are going to work and seeing her customers, and playing pickleball. “Pickleball is a big part of my social life,” she said. “It gets me out around people, it keeps me active and fit, and it’s fun to play.” Since her parents are in need of 24-hour care, Danita has to arrange for a caregiver to come in while she’s out, or depend on volunteers or other family members.
Danita, who knows several of her customers by name and most by sight, is happy right where she is. “Cashier is what I like to do. I thought about looking into customer service, but that would be more hours, plus I wouldn’t get to see all my customers. They are what keep me here.”
But the Coronavirus has changed things. Even though her work and customers are so important to her, Danita has had to make the decision to take some time off to protect herself and her family. “I decided that I should not work right now because of my parents, who are vulnerable to the Coronavirus due to their age. I would never be able to forgive myself if I brought the virus home. I will certainly go back to work once this has all slowed down. I really miss all of my customers.”