Grocery store bagger's kindness brightens Bluffton moms' days

George Brown, 75, works at the Buckwalter Place Publix and is perhaps the friendliest grocery store employee in Bluffton.
George Brown, 75, works at the Buckwalter Place Publix and is perhaps the friendliest grocery store employee in Bluffton. Staff photo

Going to the grocery store with small children can be one of the most annoying situations parents find themselves in.

"Mommy! Mommy! I want candy. Mommy, can I get this toy? I want this cereal. That's not fair!"

Then, when you finally get all the shopping done and are settled into your spot in line, there's the inevitable "Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom" -- which is, of course, followed by incessant pleas for gum once you're back at the cash register. It's enough to make you want to pull your hair out.

One simple act of kindness, though, can make it all better, according to several Bluffton moms.

At the Publix on Buckwalter Parkway in Bluffton, 75-year-old George Brown flashes a big smile to his customers and instructs them, "Never be sad. Never be angry, and never, ever, ever worry."

As he puts groceries in bags and loads them into carts, he goes on about the importance of being happy.

"Put a smile on your face," Brown says, "... that's what God wants. He wants you to be happy."

And it works. By the time you have paid for your groceries, you are in a much better mood than you were 30 minutes prior, thanks to this gentleman who makes it his business to brighten others' days.

Brown, of Hardeeville, works at least five days a week, bagging groceries at Publix at Buckwalter Place in Bluffton. The husband, father and grandfather has become sort of a celebrity on social media over the past year as area moms praise him for his kind words and great attitude.

Mom of three Meaghen Mankowski posted this on her Facebook page Nov. 5: "While I was checking out today at Publix, the man who was bagging my groceries asked me how my day was going. I told him that my day was going great, to which he responded, 'Young lady, as long as you are happy, that's all that matters. Don't ever let anyone steal that beautiful smile from you.' How's that for customer service?"

That post received 51 likes and 21 comments, many from other moms who also have experienced Brown's joyful nature at Publix.

Mom of two Stacey Leahy posted this on her Facebook page Dec. 7: "So I finally talked with the Publix store manager (on Buckwalter Pkwy) regarding the sweet man who gives the ladies of Bluffton sweet blessings on topics such as 'happiness, love and forgiveness.' It just so happened that this man was bagging my groceries today. He was talking with me. I told him that he needed to know he is quite famous on Facebook and that he has really made so many ladies of Bluffton happy with his kind words. He was quite surprised. ... his name is George. If you haven't met him yet and you shop at that store, you will soon! He truly shines bright and cannot be missed!"

If you have had the pleasure of meeting Brown, you also know he loves talking about God.

"I believe that God wants me to help people," Brown said. "I believe that he wants me to help people see, and they need to go to their Bible and read those things from the Scriptures, and abide by them."

Brown doesn't have time to say much to the people waiting in his line. After all, the line has to keep moving. More customers are waiting.

But it seems that the few words he says are often enough.

"I want you to be happy," he tells customers standing in line.

Some will give him a hug or kiss. His words touch some people so much that they break down and cry right there at the end of the line.

Alaina Evans, of Bluffton, said every time she has gone to Publix, Brown has been there doing his best to lift people's spirits.

"I have been in there many times just having an average day, and I come out thanking God for the day he has given and just smiling," she said.

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