Archive for July 14, 2006

Walmart, Santa Clause, & The Golden Gun

July 14, 2006

Just stay with me on this one.

Last night. Late. 10pm-ish. Making a Walmart run to purchase a trampoline for our oldest child Braden, who will be turning 5 on Sunday. (Really, though, we’ve wanted one for all the kids {4 total!} for some time now.) So I get a guy in sporting goods to help me load it on a dolly thingy and take it up front, pay, and then I meet my new best friend.

Vidal HAS TO BE the coolest Walmart employee I’ve ever met. The guy can tell some stories…super nice and courteous as well. He was working as the greeter/buggy organizer
and I asked him if it would be possible to get some help loading my 2000 pound (not really) trampoline in the car. He asked a cashier to page someone for carryout. It took about 15 minutes – no joke – for them to get organized enough to locate a free warm body to assist me…so I took advantage of the situation. During this time I learned that Vidal is originally from New York…sweet NY accent by the way. He has many tattoos and a “rough edge” about him. He is former military…discharged from the army at age 20…he did something with missile testing. Young guy, no, but in good shape. He has 12 grandchildren. We discussed the mechanics of a trampoline…the best we could…his English is around 80%. He told me of the time he saw a “300lb kid” destroy a trampoline. We both laughed. With his permission, I took a picture of his gold gun with my camera phone. It’s real gold, he says. He once had a gold grenade, but he proudly gave that to one of his sons. He also has a gold knife necklace. (I’m definitely going to be on Vidal’s good side…always!) So to sum this part of the story up, Vidal, I enjoyed meeting you! Vidal is a super cool guy who treated me like a valued Walmart shopper. I look forward to going back for more stories and maybe see more cool necklaces.

Then I met Jim…the best Santa Claus in Bartow County. How do I know this…was Jim in costume? did I see him performing his Santa duties? did I measure the length and fullness of his Santa beard?….nope, didn’t have to. I know he’s the best b/c I saw his heart. More of that in a sec. Jim works f/t at Walmart and also f/t for the City of Cartersville. Jim is the guy who helped cart my big purchase to the car. For the past 7 years, Jim has played Santa Clause all throughout town. 7 years ago, Jim started doing something phenomenal that God laid on his heart. Every Christmas he puts on his costume (when he’s not working one his f/t jobs) and goes around to as many needy children as possible, delivering to them a free present and a huge santa hug and smile. Let me restate that: HE GOES TO THEIR HOME. Since he knows the City so well, and also through word of mouth, he knows where to go…he knows the kids who without him, would have no Christmas. This project of his has grown over the years. Last year he gave out 630 presents. This year’s goal is 1000. Jim is busy this time of the year. He’s filling his storage shed with donated gifts and gifts he has purchased with donated money. He prays over all the gifts and continues to pray that God will allow him to reach more children this year. I told Jim about Oak Leaf’s involvement in partnering with the Salvation Army to help out with their Christmas Outreach Program…and that we would LOVE to help him as well in reaching his goal…being an incredible bright spot in these kid’s lives. Also, we are praying for Jim’s bride of 38 years. She has diabetes and is awaiting an operation that could help.

I love divine appointments.

Wonder how many I’ve missed in the past few days or weeks by not slowing down and taking a sec to look around? Food for thought.

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