To the caring employees at Vons in Chatsworth, Calif. — thank you!

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By Christopher Elliott

Mimi Rosenblatt lives in Los Angeles. She’s unemployed and disabled, having suffered from lung cancer that metastasized to her brain. Even a seemingly simple task like grocery shopping can be a challenge for her.

“I often stand there, looking for something,” she says.

Rosenblatt contacted me recently to let me know about the extraordinarily helpful workers at Vons, a local grocery store chain.

“An employee is always there, not only to tell me where the item is, but to actually take me there,” she says.

“By the time I’ve finished shopping, I’m so exhausted and can barely stand on my feet,” she adds. “Someone not only helps getting my groceries out of the cart but they help me pack up my trunk. When I try to tip them, they tell me it is against policy.”

As I listened to Rosenblatt, I could hear a familiar story. My grandmother, who will turn 95 in August, lives only a short drive from this grocery store. Shopping isn’t easy for her, either. Sometimes she forgets where things are. Sometimes she needs a hand getting out to the car.

Everyday heroes

It’s altogether possible that the good people who work at this Vons have given her a hand. Maybe they’ve helped someone else’s mother, grandmother, grandfather or brother.

In a me-first society where compassion is often in such short supply, I think that kindness deserves to be recognized. And what I like about Rosenblatt’s story is that her disability wasn’t obvious; she doesn’t wear a shirt that says “I had brain cancer.”

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That doesn’t stop the Vons employees from coming to her aid. (Here’s our guide to resolving your consumer problem.)

For the last three weeks, we’ve been celebrating travel industry employees who went above and beyond the call of duty in a major way, holding a plane, taking a customer’s side in a dispute or helping a disabled passenger board.

But maybe it’s time to salute the everyday heroes like the folks at Vons in Chatsworth, who saw Rosenblatt and stopped what they were doing long enough to point her to the right shelf or to help her to her car without holding their hand out for a tip. Quietly, and in their own way, they’ve gone the extra mile for a customer.

“Thanks to Vons and its amazing employees and managers,” says Rosenblatt.

I’m happy to tip my hat to the folks at Vons for what they’ve done.

If you’ve experienced excellent customer service recently, please let me know about it. We’re recognizing companies who go above and beyond the call of duty in a new weekly feature.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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