You’re never too old for a new project.
At least, that’s what Thelma Slagel of Bristol, Tennessee thinks. At 90 years old, she set out to lay some mulch underneath the deck in her backyard. She already had mulch in her yard, so she just needed a few more bags of matching mulch to complete the project. She visited her local Lowe’s to get things started.
Robert Lee, as assistant sales manager for Lowe’s in Bristol, met Thelma in the store that day. After helping her find the mulch to match what she had at home, he began loading it onto a cart and chatting with Thelma. While talking, he asked her who she planned on having help her spread the mulch.
“I looked at him and laughed,” she said. “I told him, you can drive around to the back and load them, but I can open the bags and spread them.”
Robert couldn’t believe it.
“The mulch probably weighs about as much as she does!”, Robert said. “I couldn’t let her go home and spread that by herself, it just didn’t sit right with me. So, I asked her if she would let me help her. She got a big smile and said she would.”
On his lunch break that same day, Robert loaded the bags of mulch into his truck and drove to Thelma’s house. He unloaded the bags and asked Thelma if he could borrow a rake.
“I said sure, so I just handed it to him since he had just convinced me that he was going to do it,” Thelma said. “And within less than 30 minutes, that man had the stuff down and had it spread.”
The work didn’t take long, but the pair spent nearly another half hour just talking. Thelma told Robert her husband had passed away a short five weeks earlier, which to Robert, made this simple mulch project about much, much more.
“I think it made her feel good just to have somebody to talk to,” Robert said. “I’ve always been one to try to help out if we can and this is one reason I love working for Lowe’s. I think it made me feel just as good as it did her.”
And for Thelma? To her, Robert was a lifesaver. Even if just for a day.
“He saved my life that day,” she said. “And he couldn’t have been any sweeter.”