It’s 11 a.m. at Vons grocery store in Normal Heights. The carts are being wiped down and people are wearing masks as they keep their distance as people walk through the aisles searching for their daily meals to cook at home.
This way of grocery shopping is all part of the new normal and can be quite an awkward task as people are still trying to get used to life during the coronavirus pandemic.
But in checkout line No. 6, there is laughter, kindness and someone special, someone many people at this store call a friend.
“Hey ladybug, how are you doing?” said Vons employee Dewayna Barron, speaking to a customer.
“Ladybug” is Barron’s term of endearment she uses for most of her customers.
Barron has been working at Vons for 33 years, including the past five years at the Normal Heights location.
Customers there say she’s well known for her kindness and spirit.
On this day, a customer made sure to bring Barron a piece of homemade cake, knowing it’s something she would enjoy. People here say Barron is more than an employee – she’s a part of the community.
“What makes my job a little more fulfilling is when a customer literally says to you, ‘How are you?’ That means the world to me,” Barron told NBC 7.
And customers at the Vons store say Barron means the world to them.
They say she’s a calming voice when things are stressful as everyone is trying to adjust to the fear that surrounds them.
“You know I've learned this way,” said Barron. “There is really no reason to be unhappy because for one, in a time like this, we have jobs. We are on the front lines; we're able to provide for people the things they cannot get.”
“Can't reach everyone,” she added. “But you can sure try.”
Barron said she tries to do all she can to keep spirits up at her workplace – especially with those who work by her side.
And in aisle No. 6 you can hear Barron asking every customer about their day, their children, or their jobs. Doing all she can to keep people happy and smiling at a time they need it the most.
“We all just need to remember that we are in this together,” she said, offering up one more piece of positive advice. “We need to be patient, that’s how we’re are all going to handle this, we just need to be patient.”