Visit the East Nashville Kroger in the Inglewood neighborhood and you'll probably be greeted with a smile from LaShenda Williams. A Self-Checkout associate, the 46-year-old is usually found on most weekdays assisting customers and helping out fellow team members. Her story is inspiring and it is hard to believe it was only 10 months ago when LaShenda Williams was homeless and living in the Nashville Kroger parking lot in her car.
Nashville, Tenn. Kroger Hires Homeless Woman Who Used To Sleep in Store's Parking Lot
Laid off from her two jobs and battling drug addiction, abuse, and abandonment, LaShenda Williams moved from friend to friend to get by, however, once she could no longer afford it, she moved into her car where she parked in the grocery store parking lot to sleep at night. One day in January 2020 she noticed a job fair sign at the grocery chain.
"Will y'all hire me? You got room for me?" She asks Kroger hiring manager Jackie Vandal.
According to Vandal, Williams seemed very sincere. She asked if Williams had filled out an online application, unable to consider her until she sent one in. Grabbing an old laptop from her car, Williams spent the next two hours filling out the application. Once she sent it in, Vandal shook her hand and Williams was hired on the spot. Bursting into tears of joy, she fell into Vandal's arms, knowing for the first time in a long time that better days were ahead.
In less than six months, Williams' life had completely changed. She finally had enough money to afford her own apartment, and with the help of social media, Kroger, and kind Tennessee Kroger customers, she received donated furniture and clothes to help get her back on track.
In a touching video, Williams shared how the Tennessee Kroger grocery store treated her as part of the Kroger family from the minute she was hired. "If I needed a pair of gloves, they gave me a pair of gloves. If I was hungry, I was fed."
Today Williams lives in her new home and is a continuously positive impact on the community. While she wears a mask to help slow the coronavirus pandemic spread, you can still feel her uplifting spirit and smile through the fabric.