I worked at Safeway in Rohnert Park for 20 years. I have so many stories about my friends from work and the friends I made from customers. I had a pretty nice gig when I was a courtesy clerk-bagger. I had a lot of freedom and made enough money to support myself. I really enjoyed that job. Eventually an opportunity came up for me to take over the Health and Beauty Aid department. I oversaw ordering and stocking shampoo, toothpaste and aspirin, etc. I received a raise and more responsibility. I always do my best at whatever job I am doing so when I took over HABA I saw stuff that needed work. The employee (Mark) that had the department before me had a more leisurely style of work and organization. I spent a few months cleaning up and organizing this section of the store as well as the backstock in the back room. Some stuff I came across was disgusting but I dealt with it. I lost some respect for my coworker Mark but did not speak of it. Mark went to the night crew as a stocker, a promotion. Mark was married and had two young sons. When they shopped, they would always visit me. Their nickname for me was “Blondie”. That was cute!
About a year went by, me working the H and B section and Mark stocking on night crew. I wasn’t particularly close with him. I know little of his personal life and that was ok. One morning he called in sick. His friend Darrold, came to tell me about his tragic situation.
Apparently, Mark and his wife had grown apart but were still living together. Mark had worked the night before. When he had gotten up in the afternoon, he discovered blood in the bathtub! It was so much that it alarmed him. The kids weren’t home from school yet and Mark confronted his wife. She confessed that she had delivered a baby and threw it in the dumpster by their apartment complex. When Mark went to get the baby, “he” was dead. They weren’t sure if it was delivered dead or not. Mark’s wife had hidden the pregnancy because Mark wasn’t the father. She was scared and didn’t know what to do. Mark wouldn’t be at work for some time now.
What a shocking story. Even though I didn’t have a close relationship with Mark, my heart went out to him in this terrible situation. I wanted to do something. So of course, I made him and his sons a lasagna dinner!
Mark’s wife went to jail for some time. Mark got divorced and raised his two young sons on his own. He was truly grateful for the kindness that I showed during this difficult time. We became better friends because of it and even after he left Safeway for another job, he and his sons would always come through my line.