Customers in Danville, California, found a way to honor one of their favorite Costco employees.
Arlie Smith, 45, who customers call the “Costco Guy,” has worked at Costco for more than 20 years and is much-loved among customers. Smith always greets his customers with an enthusiastic smile and when shoppers with kids leave the store, he draws them a cute picture on the back of their receipt.
2 years ago Smith was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Then 6 months ago the 45-year-old got more bad news. He contracted kidney cancer, which has since spread to his bones and is terminal. Doctors said he might live another two years, KTVU-TV reported.
Even knowing the terrible news, Smith has remained as optimistic and positive as ever. “Since the time he was told that, he’s been enthusiastic, and happy, and I’m not kidding,” his wife Shari Smith said.
But his customers wanted to do something special for him, so when news of Smith’s diagnosis spread, Bridgette Loughnane, a Costco customer, worked with others online to donate toward a vacation for Smith and his wife.
On Tuesday, the Costco customers who call themselves “Arlie’s Angels” showed up at the store and presented the worker with $2,500 for him and his wife to take a four-night getaway to Laguna Beach, California at his favorite place.
“They’re priceless, they’re irreplaceable,” a teary-eyed Smith said about his customers. “Everything that’s done for me and the love that’s shown for me, every day- it’s astounding. I mean, people don’t have this great of a life, really.”
The worker was overwhelmed with the support he’s received, and says that despite his illness, he still feels like he has so much to be thankful for.
“How can you possibly be ungrateful in my situation?” Smith said, reflecting on the gift. “How can you possibly take this for granted?”
Though Smith was shocked by his customers’ act of kindness, shoppers say he truly deserves it.
Smith says that he plans on continuing to work at Costco for as long as he can. After all, he did meet his wife at work. On January 4, 2002. Shari was returning an item, and told the Contra Costa Times that she moved into a different line so she would end up at Arlie’s register. The couple married the following year.
Smith is now giving even more purpose to his life by trying to raise as much money as possible during a store-wide fundraiser in May for the Children’s Hospital Oakland, a fundraiser in which he has previously finished in the top 10 in North America.