Over the past 25 years Irene has been known as the “Walgreens Lady” around town. Everyone absolutely loves it when the friendly cashier welcomes them with a cheerful greeting every time they waltz through the front door! Sadly, Irene is no longer in the best of health, and if she doesn’t get what she desperately needs to get better, her warm welcome may soon turn cold.
The store’s pharmacy technician, Stephanie Richards, has known about her co-worker’s little secret for quite some time. She also knows that the elderly cashier doesn’t have the funds to take care of what needs to be done, which is why she reached out to the local community in Richfield, Minnesota for help!
On a planet that’s filled with over 7 billion souls, the days of being neighborly like Mister Rogers are long gone. But, thanks to social media, it’s actually possible to touch more people than ever before! It’s even possible for someone like Stephanie to plan a virtual surprise party online, and still manage to keep Irene from finding out about the super sweet gift that’s coming her way.
Stephanie actually grew up listening to Irene’s boisterous “Welcome to Walgreens” that greeted her upon entering the store. On the GoFundMe page that Stephanie setup on behalf of Irene, she reminds everyone exactly why this woman is so fabulous:
“When checking out you may have gotten to know her a bit and share a nice laugh and every time she wishes every single person a blessed day/night/holiday and tells you to be safe as you exit the store. Having grown up and lived in Richfield myself almost my whole life I knew Irene growing up.”
The pharmacy tech cares deeply for her elderly friend, and it’s actually people like Irene that bring a community to life! So, when Stephanie found out that her favorite cashier had been squirreling away a sad little secret, she thought it was high time that the community pitched in to help turn Irene’s fortunes around.
Even with all the troubles and tragedies that Irene has endured over the years, the amazing woman still manages to put on a smile, laugh, and make everyone feel good about themselves.
“I have had the privilege to be able to get to know her a lot better and upon learning that she hasn’t had the best or easiest time in her life and recently she suffered a stroke, it amazes me how she can go through all she has been through and still see the best in everyone.”
Irene’s 25th year anniversary as an employee of Walgreens is coming up, and there’s one thing that Irene has never had – a vacation! She desperately needs one. Like, now!
“Having just recently discussed with her what she would do if she had some money she said she would want to go on a nice vacation. I asked her if she had ever been on vacation and she said no she hadn’t since she could never afford it and that the farthest she’s been from MN is Michigan and Chicago.”
The poor woman has barely even ventured outside of town, which is why Stephanie is drumming up support for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to a tropical paradise.
When asked where she would hypothetically like to go, Irene had two places in mind: Portland, Oregon and Hawaii. Instead of her usual greeting, Irene may soon be cheering “Aloha” from her first-class seat!
“When asked if she was okay with flying she said absolutely. “You always have to come back down”, she said, lol. I can just picture her now with a huge smile on her face, relaxing with a drink in her hand and her feet in the sand. I can’t imagine a more deserving person than Irene and I know she would love to take a wonderful vacation. She has a month of PTO so maybe we could get enough together for her to take a week long trip somewhere and maybe some extra to give her for whatever else she might need.”
Stephanie reached out to Richfield, MN community Facebook page to let everyone know that this surprise is to remain top secret! When the time comes, she plans to videotape the special moment and share it with the great global community at large.