Stephen has 'the time of his life" with Asda colleagues on Larne visit
Stephen Gibson had “the time of his life” when our Larne colleagues invited him in for a special behind the scenes visit.
The store’s Community Champion Catherine McCallion got to know Stephen through her time volunteering with Larne Adult Centre, which supports people with physical and learning disabilities. He told her he’d love to find out how the store is run – and the team pulled out the stops for him.
Stephen, who’s 33, has severe learning difficulties and is epileptic. He’d visited the store on trips organised by the Centre to buy ingredients for their cookery sessions and enjoyed himself so much he asked Catherine if he could come in again.
He was shown how to use a checkout, scanned stock on the shop floor with General Store Manager Niall Keyes and chatted to other colleagues. He was also given an Asda shirt, jacket, lanyard and badge to wear for the day.
Stephen was joined by his carers and sisters Faye and Lauren, who helped and encouraged him during his visit.
He said: “I had a great time! Everyone was very friendly and I would love to go back again to help them out.”
Stephen’s mum Mum Siobhan said: "He had an absolute ball. Thank you so much Asda – you’ve made a young man very, very happy.
“Catherine in particular went above and beyond to ensure he had a fantastic day – he had the time of his life. I think when he got to wear the uniform he was in seventh heaven!”
Larne Adult Centre manager Linda Montgomery said: "I have worked alongside Stephen for many years and he loves feeling part of things and being useful to others.
“So often people with learning disabilities are stigmatised and don’t have the same opportunities to realise their dreams and aspirations. Not any more – the staff at Asda and in particular Catherine broke down these barriers and fulfilled this for him.”
Catherine said: "I’ve got to know Stephen quite well and he absolutely loves Asda. Every time I see him he wants to find out more about my role and the store – so I thought it would be a nice idea to invite him in to see things for himself.
“His wee face was a picture and he was so proud to wear the Asda uniform and have his own name badge. He really took to the checkout – he found the barcodes immediately and was very fast!
“He spoke to lots of colleagues and it was fantastic to see how happy he was. He said he couldn’t believe he was able to look behind the scenes.”
Catherine is hoping that Stephen will be able to come back in for more visits in the future.