Wearing a bright neon vest over his Ralphs shirt to help drivers see him in the parking lot, Luis Prado pushes carts around. A lot.
He’s been employed at Ralphs for over 14 years. He greets regular customers with a cheery smile and a wave, and comments, “What I love about my job is that everyone here really treats me well, especially my supervisor, and the others who work here. I love it. I get tired, but that’s okay, because it’s a job, and a lot of people don’t have jobs.”
Luis’ supervisor Rinaldo has been a great advocate for this model employee.
Customers love Luis. Some even admit to shopping at this Ralphs due to Luis’ friendly service. “He spends every moment rounding up carts. He is truly one of the hardest working people I know. He is always cheerful, positive, helpful,” says Cathy Berry of TCRC. “He’s a wonderful person.”
The attentiveness Luis offers to customers goes beyond greetings and helping with their carts. Shopper Lynda Bell recalls a time she lost a precious item in the lower parking lot. Luis not only helped her look, but found the item and then walked her to her car. Lynda comments, “I have always remembered the great customer service, when he went above and beyond. I consider Ralphs one of the better stores in town because of that service. Luis is an asset to his employer, and has a great smile and helpful spirit.”
Luis has a warm countenance that draws others to him. His Service Coordinator, Michael Marvin, knows how conscientious he is. “When Luis says ‘Have a nice day,’ it’s genuine.”
Noticing a recorder taping Luis’ comments, a customer approached. She smiled at Luis, and asked about the interview. When hearing that Luis had been selected to be featured in the TriLine newsletter, she beamed, and threw her arms up in joy. “It’s about time! Hurray! After so many years!”
“Almost fifteen,” he smiled.
“You could throw a party!” she suggested.
“I could throw a party,” Luis considered. “My mom, my sister, my brother… they’re proud of me. I’m very, very happy. I have a job. It’s hard sometimes, but I have no complaints.”
When asked what he likes most about his work, he mentioned how important it is to be able to contribute to his family by bringing home income. Luis also admitted shyly, “I am nice with people.”
Luis is bilingual, a highly practical benefit that he brings to his role at Ralphs.
“Yes,” he mused, “sometimes my English gets mixed up. It’s okay. I took ESL classes at City College. I consider that my English is pretty good, but Spanish is my first language. I came here from Mexico City twenty years ago, when I was 27. I’ve seen in movies, for example, about the culture in Japan… the important thing is service, to provide good service to people. In order to communicate well with people, there’s a key word: humility. We don’t all have it. Sometimes we fail. We need to have humility, to avoid mistakes, and to help people. I’ve seen a lot. But here, everything’s fine, even peaceful. I live close to work, and I can walk here in five minutes. I’m happy here. I know everyone.”
Over the years at Ralphs, Luis Prado has developed deep community connections. His work and practices providing humility and service to others attract people to his store, where they, like he, feel truly welcomed.