I arrived at Kroger at 1:45pm. My interview was at 2:00pm.
“I am here to see the manager for a job interview,” I told the courtesy clerk.
It took me a good ten minutes to get up the courage to step up to the counter and say that. I came so close to just walking out and driving home.
“Go sit in the pharmacy department and he will be right with you,” she said with a smile as she called him over the store’s intercom.
I took a seat on a very comfortable couch in the waiting area by the pharmacy. I was a nervous wreck. My hands were shaking violently and I was trying to steady them. Sweat was forming on my brow. I had taken one Klonopin an hour earlier to steady my nerves. It wasn’t doing such a good job. I should’ve taken two, but was worried it would make me groggy or sleepy.
“Hi!” I heard as a man stepped up to where I was sitting. “Are you Andrew?”
“Yes,” I replied, smiling, standing up quickly as we shook hands vigorously.
“Step into my office for the interview,” he told me, showing me the way.
The manager’s demeanor quickly put me at ease. He was a good hearted, down to earth kind of guy. Kind of a heavyset fellow with business attire and a tie. His jet black hair was combed neatly and parted to the left. He looked much, much younger than the man’s voice I had heard on the phone yesterday. He didn’t look much older than me.
“You live around here?” he asked trying to set me at ease.
“I live just a few blocks over from here,” I replied enthusiastically.
“Well, transportation shouldn’t be a problem for you,” he said with a kind laugh. “I live down in Auburn by the way. Grew up there, born and raised.”
“No. It won’t. Transportation won’t be a problem,” I replied, laughing in turn. “I plan to walk to work everyday.”
“I see you applied online this weekend for the grocery clerk job,” he told me studying my application. “You will be bagging groceries and handling the shopping carts. Handling the carts is the hardest part of the job. Can you push 50 pounds at a time?”
I smiled and shook my head yes in acknowledgement. I was very familiar with shopping carts. I could handle that I thought.
“It says on your application that you haven’t really worked much since 2002 and are on disability. Is that correct?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Do you feel like you can work with your disability?” he asked.
“Oh yes. Definitely,” I replied. “I feel I am at the point in my life where I eventually would like to be self supporting and to get off disability over time.”
“Well, I am going to give you a shot and see how you do,” he told me reassuringly. “You will be working 20 hours a week at minimum wage ($580 a month). The other baggers that have seniority will work the busy afternoon shift. You will be working early mornings and late evenings when we need you.”
“Thank you,” I said, falling all over myself in happiness and relief as I stood up and shook his hand again. “Thank you for giving me a chance. I really wanted this job. This was the job I wanted the most out of all the ones I applied for. I am a hard worker and won’t let you down.”
“I think you’ll do fine,” he said with a smile. “We will work with you about your disability.”
The next step is a drug test and a criminal background check which won’t be a problem. It will take about a week before I start this new job so that will give me a chance to give my supervisor at Wal-Mart some ample notice so she can start the hiring process again. I am very excited and scared at the same time. Change is good, but can be hard on an old curmudgeon like me. I will have to learn a whole new work environment and job, and every job is so different.
As I was walking out the store so relieved to have that under my belt, I noticed a chubby mongoloid man bagging groceries and that set me at ease about people having disabilities working there. I noticed on his name tag that he was named Marshall. Surely, if a guy with Down’s syndrome can do my job, then certainly I can as well despite my limitations.
Well, I am off to go power wash a driveway for $25 dollars. My Benefactor is expecting me any time now. I called him and told him I would be a little late having a busy day today. He was slurring his words when I called so it must be another Pabst Blue Ribbon day. lol