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In 2017, Publix ranked No. 6 on Fortune Magazine’s 2017 Best Workplaces for Diversity. At Publix, diversity is a big part of our culture, so much so that part of the Publix mission is to be involved as responsible citizens in our communities. “We want our associates and their unique abilities to reflect the communities we serve, and persons with disabilities are a vital part of that segment,” Nicole Maristany Krauss, Media & Community Relations Manager for Publix told us. “We work to provide an inclusive environment for all our associates, and we are proud of the diversity that exists in our Publix family.” Our associates with disabilities have big personalities and each one brings their own strengths to Publix. Let us share stories of a few of our exceptional associates who have overcome adversity and obstacles to shine with us.

Michael (Tyler) Crose

03_MB_Special Needs_Tyler CroseTyler has been a part of our Publix family for five years. He was born with Down syndrome and lives with his mother and step-dad. His family is very involved in his life and started a nonprofit special arts theater that focuses on keeping the arts alive and well for all people.

We asked his management team how they would describe Tyler. Store Manager, Amy Schaufelberger, responded, “Tyler has a BIG heart. He brightens my day and makes me smile. He cares about everyone he comes in contact with and he isn’t afraid to tell them how important they are to him. Our management team from the store often attends his plays to support him. We all go together and cheer him on during our own personal time off. He is so proud when he sees his work friends there. One time he screamed on stage when the play was over ‘Amy, I’m coming down, be right there’ as he quickly made his way down the stairs to see my husband, my dad and myself to take a selfie.” You see, Tyler had only met my dad and husband one time at Publix. After only one introduction they both wanted to see his play. That is how amazing Tyler is. You can meet him one time and he will make you feel so special that you know you want to see him again.”

Tyler goes to work every day ready to do the best job he can. He proudly wears his smile and has a way of making people appreciate one another. Without Tyler, Store #1335 wouldn’t be the same.

Sara Millen

Sara has been a part of our Publix family since July 2005. She has always had the desire to work for Publix and turned down other job offers while waiting for the opportunity to become part of our team. She loves customers and strives to make Publix a better place. Her management team says that she works hard to be the best she can be every day while taking pride in her work.

In the summer of 1999, Sara was invited to join the USA Women’s Soccer team for the Special 03_MB_Special Needs_Sara MillenOlympics World Games in North Carolina. Herteam came in second place and received the silver medal.

We asked her management team how Sara has affected their team. Their response was, “Sara’s kind personality really rubs off on our team. When she is here you can see a difference in everyone. Her smile is infectious. The customers look forward to seeing her because not only is she friendly, but they also see how hard she works.” They went on to describe her as a very kind, giving associate. She loves to dance and be happy.

We appreciate Sara’s dedication to Publix and that she strives to follow all guidelines and encourages others. It is associates like her who make our team whole.

John McDaniel

03_MB_Special Needs_John McDanielJohn was born at Duke University Medical Center in 1971 with severe Cerebral Palsy, and doctors said he would never be able to walk, talk or function properly in day-to-day life. His adopted mother has an amazing story to tell about his life journey that ultimately led to John defying all odds. He is now an avid swimmer, bowler and volleyball player in the Special Olympics, where he has won many medals.

John started his career at Publix in August 2003 as a part-time front service clerk (bagger). His daily responsibilities include providing premier customer service to everyone he comes in contact with. He performs these duties quite well, always with a smile on his face.

We asked store manager David Grassick to tell us a little about working with John over the past nine years. David said, “John has an ability to touch those he works with through his personality. He is outgoing once he gets to know his fellow associates. He has a warm heart and a special personality. He has touched many people who have worked here at our store, along with customers.

The first Christmas that John and I worked together his mother brought John in to give me a gift. His mother told me John was very excited to share this gift with me. I thanked John and opened it up to find an owl shaped candy dish. John started giggling. I thanked him again and John made the gesture with his two fingers pointing to his eyes and then to me. I then asked John what he meant and John said he got me the owl because I am always watching him.  I have an upstairs office and the dish is still on my desk. If I am in my office and look down and see John I make the same gesture to him today. It is our special way of sharing our feelings towards each other. Knowing John these past nine years has been more of a blessing to me than to him. John’s love for life, love for our God and love for others is truly an unbelievable blessing to me and everyone lucky enough to know him.”

We hope these stories brought a smile to your face just as they have for us. Publix welcomes people with disabilities to apply and gain meaningful employment. We’re proud to be part of Fortune Magazine’s 2017 Best Workplaces for Diversity, and we will continue to strive to be a place for everyone to work and shop.

Monique B.

Written by

Monique B. began her journey at Publix in 2010, where she fell in love with the fact that, as an associate, she was also part owner of the company. Since then, she has dedicated her skills in organization and creativity to Publix, taking a special interest in social media. At the end of the day, she hopes The Publix Checkout leaves you with the knowledge that Publix is more than just a grocery store – we’re experts, we’re family, and we’re here to help!

2 Comments on “Providing Customer Service in a Special Way

  1. Marcia Weitman

    Love PUBLIX…nothing else compares. Check out Joe at store #01469 in Weston FL. Been an employee of Publix for 20 something years. Even though he has some physical handicaps he’s always there to bag your groceries & help you to your car while asking about your family. He always remembers his customers. We see him riding his 3 wheel bike to work no matter the weather. Most Publix employees do an outstanding job but some like Joe put in that little extra effort

  2. Jennifer Bush

    This melts my heart! Being part of a caring family is one of the reasons I love working at Publix. Tyler, Sara and John, you are all my heroes!

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