I made a lot of good friends when I was working at Safeway. Most of my friends were my co- workers whom some became almost like a second family to me. A lot of the others were customers who shopped regularly, and we developed friendships outside of Safeway.
Robbie started working at Safeway about the same time as me, January 1983. I was a courtesy clerk, and she was a checker. Robbie was married to Dale, and they had 2 children, Heather and Jacob. Her kids were in middle school and early high school. I remember my first Christmas in my own apartment. I wanted to bake Christmas cookies for everyone in my family. I certainly didn’t know anything about baking Christmas cookies.....I was only 19 years old! I probably avoided it when I was growing up. Robbie was baking one day, and I happened to
have the day off, so I invited myself over to her house. I probably didn’t bring any ingredients. It’s interesting how narrow 19 years olds awareness can be. It’s actually amusing. She had all kinds of yummy recipes and we made 8 different kinds of cookies and treats. We were listening to “Girls just Wanna Have Fun” on the radio as her kids were coming home from school. Robbie was so sweet and had such a huge heart. I’ll credit her my baking skills.
She was one of my first friends at Safeway. We did a lot of fun things when our days off coincided. Years passed. I got a promotion
to the health and beauty aid department. We worked together less but remained friends. Later, when I got promoted to checker I immediately went to night crew. I rarely saw Robbie for the next year. After coming off of night crew, we were together again. Working side by side. Heather was in college and Jacob a senior in high school. Everything was good, life was wonderful.
I came into work one day and heard the news that Dale had fallen the night before outside their home. He had hit his head on the cement and was in the hospital. His brain was bleeding. They were deciding if they would need to do surgery to relieve the pressure or wait and hope it would stop. Such a horrible accident. My heart went out to the family. Financially, they were barely making it. Dale had been out of work for a while and Heather was in St. Mary’s College, which was very expensive.
Now Robbie was off work and staying by his side at the hospital. She would get sick leave pay but sometimes that takes a few weeks to kick in and you must wait. This is the point where I knew I needed to help. I decided to take up collections around work. I went in on Thursday, our payday, but my day off. I started the fund by my contribution of one days pay. It was $128 back then. I approached everyone when they picked up their paycheck. Some gave willingly but others had ‘very good’ reasons why they couldn’t help. That was o.k. I continued to collect money that week and the following Thursday. It gave folks 2 chances. I was able to give her family over $1000. Some of my co- workers gave money on both Thursdays too! I felt so good about my efforts because I knew that it helped her family out tremendously.
It ended well. Dale’s bleeding stopped after a few days. He was released but they had determined that he had a seizure. They put him on medication, and he couldn’t drive for a long time. Robbie was able to come back to work after 2 weeks.
With a little help from all my friends at Safeway, we were able to help ease the financial load during Robbie’s family’s crisis.