Four years ago when my husband, Bob,
lost his mobility to drive a car, he found the
thrill of driving at our local Randall's
store: The in-store scooter! His second
favorite hobby was eating so what better
match than going grocery shopping on a
The Randall's store is on the way to
the YMCA where I exercise during
the week, so it was a natural for Bob to be dropped off while I went to exercise and then I picked him back up on my
way home. He soon became friends with the Randall's
Store personnel--Max and Martho who would see him
coming and get his scooter ready, Pam and Jan who checked
him out often chiding him cheerfully on groceries not on
his sugar-free diet. If he forgot his pin number for his debit
card, it was no problem for Pam and Jan to process a credit.
Other employees who'd find him lost helped him on his way.
Another signature attraction was the "coffee bar" where he'd
get his cinnamon latte (and frequently sneak a sweet treat.) He
was "Bob" to everyone and they all seemed to know when he
was in their store.
Soon an hour was not enough, particularly after he patronized
the coffee bar. Without much difficulty, he could spend two or
three hours in the store. Going to Randalls was the highlight of
As his Alzheimers advanced, he no longer read labels nor
stayed true to his grocery list. I began to be there before he
checked out, and re-shelve items not sugar-free and/or not
needed. When this became excessive, I would stay with him,
splitting the list and meeting him at the check-out counter.
There came a time when he could no longer read labels or
"find" the items on the list. Sometimes "sweets" were the only
items in his basket. My returning items to the shelves began to
bring on bursts of Alzheimer's temper, and he wandered the
store at random on the scooter.
Although his continuation of going to Randalls is tenuous at best,
I cannot express adequately my disappointment that this phase
of his life is ending.
The kindness of strangers is not lost in America. Whether offering
to help load groceries or reaching for an items from the shelf,
many good and sensitive people helped make his "job" possible
for over three years.
To Randalls (Karl, its manager), Jan, Pam, Max and Martho
and all the others--a mere thank you is not enough. I hope
they know what a contribution they made to an elderly gentlemen
who loved to shop!