Tim Kerfoot smiles as another customer walks through the doors.
He makes eye contact and engages the customer with a hello. Wearing his blue employee vest, smattered with pins and his name tag, he sits by the store carts and baskets in his motor powered wheelchair ready to lend a hand.
Kerfoot was recognized last week with the company’s Wal-Mart International Associate of the Year Award. The recognition comes on the heels of winning Wal-Mart’s national Shining Star award in February.
“It’s mind-blowing,” said Kerfoot. “I have a job where I get to be me, contributing to an amazing team. I didn’t accomplish this on my own, I had management that gave me an opportunity to be part of this.”
Kerfoot received the award May 30 during Wal-Mart’s International Associates’ Conference in Fayetteville, Ark.
He’s becoming a store celebrity. Even as he sits during his morning shift Thursday, customers who heard the news continually congratulate him on his recognition.
Gerhard Bosman, the store’s people manager, said it’s amazing that Kerfoot was singled out from about 2.2 million Wal-Mart associates worldwide.
“He is exceptionally good at what he does,” he said. “The example he sets in this store is positive-plus. It’s positive to the extreme.”
Bosman said Kerfoot’s attitude rubs off on other staff members.
Winning the award has strengthened Kerfoot’s hope that he will climb to the top of Mount Benson this year and replace a piece of rock his friends took.
They issued a challenge for him to put the rock back as motivation after Kerfoot suffered an accident in 2001 during a slo-pitch game.
When he dove to catch a ball weakened blood vessels in the left part of his brain burst, making his right side numb. He spent five nights in a coma and now uses a wheelchair.