'Legendary' volunteer, 80, spreads cheer and keeps people safe at Iceland supermarket in Waterlooville
A PENSIONER has been spreading some cheer and keeping spirits high during tough times outside a supermarket.
Mike Shaw, 80, has been dubbed a ‘legend’ and a ‘celebrity’ after offering his services as a volunteer at Iceland on Wellington Way, Waterlooville.
The former Asda golden greeter and air steward has been keeping people safe by monitoring the flow of customers in and out of the store, as well as ensuring baskets are sanitised.
But as well as keeping order, Mike has been pivotal in lifting spirits and enjoys ‘great banter’ with customers, as well as entertaining the crowds with festive songs such as Blue Christmas by Elvis.
Mike, who first took on the role at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March, volunteers every day of the week from 9am to 2.45pm.
Nick Simmonds, Iceland store manager, said: ‘Mike is fantastic and is a legend.
‘He spreads festive cheer and keeps spirits high as well as keeping customers and staff safe by monitoring the flow of customers in the store.
‘He has great banter with the customers and is fantastic with kids. He sings songs, which he is very good at. As a big Elvis fan he’s enjoying singing Blue Christmas at the moment. Everyone loves him.’
Mike, who lives in Crookhorn, offered his services to the store during lockdown in March.
He said: ‘I was volunteering here when (the pandemic) first started to help out. When I was at Asda I was the top man as a greeter and I thought I could use that expertise because no one really knows what’s happening.
‘I’ve worked doing this sort of thing before and I’m used to dealing with people.’
Despite having doubts, Nick admitted he has been stunned by the pensioner’s success.
‘As he was leaving after shopping in March Mike offered to manage the customer numbers coming in and out on a voluntary basis. I had my doubts,’ he said.
‘But I decided to take a punt on him...and got more than I expected. I don’t know of any other store that has someone like Mike who makes sure everyone’s safe and keeps people entertained. He’s like our Uncle Tom.
‘If the store is too busy he will get people to line up and explain the situation, making sure it is one-in, one-out.
‘It is bedlam at the store and is it important we pay attention to how many people are inside. He’s been a real lifesaver for us. He had a month off during the November lockdown but apart from that has worked every day since March.
‘At a time when a lot of people are behind closed doors he really stepped up to support the shop and protect the customers. A local hero in my eyes.’
Such is Mike’s popularity that customers brought gifts and Christmas cards for him.
‘Everyone loves him,’ Nick said. ‘He’s a real local celebrity. He just wants to help. After his wife died he lost his confidence but has now got his confidence back and is like a new man.’