A Supervisor & Friend

Sunday, March 08, 2020

My ex-supervisor at Costco and friend, Virginia, has suffered a series of strokes and been hospitalized. Yesterday, her son, Joe, called. He asked for help this morning. While he’s handling activities related to Virginia’s ongoing supportive care, I’ll go to St. Charles and keep Virginia company today. If left alone, she panics.

Virginia and I have been friends nearly fifteen years. She was a supervisor in the sample-server component at Costco when I began working there part-time. She’d worked for the demo-services unit many years, beginning in Hawaii where she used to live, and after moving to Central Oregon.

When I began serving samples, our head supervisor was not pleasant, but Virginia understood her. Virginia watched the floor, understood what sample-servers were coping with, noticed who worked well or not well-enough, and often, acted as a buffer between the head supervisor and one or more sample-servers.

My habit of “talking back” is an unfortunate habit I never learned to suppress. Virginia’s occasional interventions helped me remain employed–until I did something that greatly offended our top supervisor. I refused to work on a day she insisted that I must, and she fired me, had me deemed not re-employable. Virginia couldn’t help me.

A couple years after that, the supervisor had retired and I was in Costco. Virginia corralled me, said their new top supervisor was a nice person, they needed more demo folks. She asked me to return to my old job. To my surprise and despite my negative record with Human Resources, Virginia and the new supervisor got me re-employed. I’ve worked there ever since and (mosty) keep my mouth shut.

I could complain to Virginia or make suggestions about working differently. She had remained second-in-command, was a straight arrow–tough as nails, but supportive and trustworthy. She had a soft side and sometimes helped cash-strapped workers financially. Along the line, I met her son, Joe, who kept an eye on her, was a helping hand.

After Virginia retired, we stayed in touch, meeting occasionally, discussing changes in the demo service side of Costco’s business. Over time, she and Joe became family-like to me.

Now, during Virginia’s illness, as they work through this unexpected health crisis, she’s fortunate to have Joe’s intelligent attentive assistance, and by now, he’s exhausted. From recent experience in caring for my ill elderly sister, I know that Virginia needs much more care. I want to help them through this crisis.

Dear Friends: All of us need help from one another, to cope well and live long. Diana

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