By - February 1, 2018

James Welaha lifts customers’ spirits

Produce Clerk James Welaha

After losing her mother in 2010, Publix customer Michelle Lewis knew her mother’s birthday would always be an emotional day. But this past year, she decided to honor her memory with a birthday party.

“It was a spur-of-the-moment decision,” explained Michelle. Following a long day at work, she visited her Publix, #103, Seffner, Florida. “I picked up a birthday cake and some balloons — 14 to be exact.”

In the process of inflating the balloons, Michelle and Produce Clerk James Welaha began a friendly conversation. “I told him the reason for the balloons and how my mother had passed. I thought he would think I was crazy, but he was so friendly and polite.

“He told me he had to get a ticket for me so I could pay at the register. On his way back, he told me he would love to buy the balloons for my mom’s birthday. That is when my heart hit the floor. I was so touched by his kindness and generosity that I took a picture of him at the register with all the balloons.

“That evening, my family sang Happy Birthday, had our fill of cake and enjoyed the balloons. Thanks to James, what had always been one of the hardest days became one of my happiest.”

James was presented a gold coin by Store Manager Marie Russo for his commitment to providing superior customer service.


The gold coin is presented to associates who embrace the Publix culture and provide premier service the way Mr. George himself would have. Receiving a gold coin means you’ve made a real difference in the lives of others by going above and beyond. Associates can become eligible for the gold coin by receiving customer praise through the customer care department, which reviews each case based on established criteria and guidelines.

New Gold Coin

Take a moment to read about other Gold Coin winners in Publix News.