Blind grocery bagger inspires customers, co-workers

Blind employee at HyVee inspiring others

NEW HOPE, Minn. - A man is getting praise for his work bagging groceries.

The task may seem easy, but for James Sloan it took some getting used to because he's missing one crucial sense. He's blind.

The New Hope HyVee has been open for almost a year. Since opening, day people have been noticing Sloan's work and positive attitude.

"He's one of those people who sets your store apart," said Tony Taylor, store director.

With a pair of no-slip sneakers and a walking cane, a co-worker guides him to his aisle and he immediately becomes busy filling bags.

Sloan says he does his work through touch and teamwork with his fellow cashier Jeannie.

"He's fun, he has a great personality," said Jeannie.

With every customer Sloan meets, he always asks them how they're doing, gives them a smile, and thanks them for their business.

"I try to make everyone feel happy," said Sloan.

"People love his personality so you have people waiting in line just to be with him," said Taylor.

Born in Liberia, Sloan saw the world for many years, but lost his eyesight as a teenager after a retina detachment and unreliable healthcare in his home country.

"At the beginning it was tough a bit, but I tried to overcome it," said Sloan.

Eventually, Sloan moved to Minnesota to be with family and landed his job at HyVee. He says it's the best job he has ever had.

"Everyone is equal you know? We all work together, we share ideas. Everyone is in a happy mood," said Sloan.

"He has taught us all what you can ccopmlish if you have a good attitude, great spirit and just determination," said Taylor.

"No matter who you are, you cannot allow any situation to beat you down," Sloan.


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