Ola’s positive attitude sees him up for award

Ola Ayeni, security guard at Tesco Whiteley, who has received hundreds of likes for the Retail and Leisure Awards, with Darren Gooding, operations manager at Whiteley Shopping Centre
Ola Ayeni, security guard at Tesco Whiteley, who has received hundreds of likes for the Retail and Leisure Awards, with Darren Gooding, operations manager at Whiteley Shopping Centre

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Hundreds of people have shown their support for a security guard who goes above and beyond.

Tesco Whiteley security guard Ola Ayeni was nominated for an accolade in The News’ Retail and Leisure Awards, which are returning for their second year in September.

A picture of Ola was shared on The News’ Facebook page and hundreds of people have spoken out about the times he has helped them and brought cheer to their day.

The photo received a vast amount of support, collecting more than 800 likes, 200 comments and 155 shares.

Melanie Blake posted: ‘And well-deserved too...this is a man who knows all about “service excellence”. Well done that man!’

Lynsey Windsor said: ‘Absolute legend! Cheers me up every time I go in.’

Jess Hurst said: ‘Lovely guy, always makes me smile!’

Darren Gooding, operations manager at Whiteley Shopping Centre, put Ola forward for the Customer Service Award.

He said that when Ola first started, the Facebook site for Whiteley blew up with comments about his customer service.

‘I’ve never seen anything quite like it,’ he said.

‘People were coming down to Tesco just to meet him and then write on the forum about their experience.’

Ola has been working at Whiteley Tesco for around three months and before that worked as a security guard at TSS for two years.

Mr Gooding said: ‘It’s all Ola. It’s great to see how much he brightens up everyone’s day.

‘It’s the public who constantly remind us how amazing he is.

‘The amount of people he greets, he does it with such passion. It’s a rare thing to see in this day and age.’

Ola said he was overjoyed to see such supportive comments.

He said: ‘I just feel so joyful, I feel so good. It is very important for customers to come to the shop, they put food on my table.

‘There is a lot of competition, so for people to come to where I work makes me very happy. They make my life complete.’

‘I want them to shop with pleasure, that’s my belief’

There are 10 categories in this year’s awards, such as New Retailer of the Year, Team Member of the Year and Manager of the Year, plus more.

The winners will be announced at a gala black tie dinner to be held at Portsmouth Guildhall on September 17.

For details of how to enter and to purchase tickets, go to jpsouthevents.co.uk.

But you need to hurry as the closing date for entries is tomorrow.