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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Walmart greeter Sue Pitre is capturing the spirit of the season in song.
Pitre, 52, has been turning heads recently by belting out Christmas tunes much to the enjoyment of customers and staff at the Charlottetown store.
Jingle bells in hand, the capital city resident is winning smiles and praise during the hustle and bustle of this busy – and at times manic – shopping season.
Store manager Virginia Pedersen says customers welcome the warm, musical greeting. Some say Pitre is the reason they come back to shop at Walmart.
“We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful associate that has taken her role as Walmart greeter to an incredible level,’’ says Pedersen.
“She is spreading the Christmas cheer to everyone that enters Walmart.’’
Pitre says she is overwhelmed, and even a bit embarrassed, by the pleasant responses to her singing a batch of traditional holiday songs during each shift.
“I just bring out a lot of joy in their heart,’’ she says.
“I’m sure it makes everybody’s day a little brighter…I just do it from my heart and soul.’’
Pitre has been working at Walmart for two years, but started as a custodian, who quickly became known as the singing janitor. She recalls with a bright smile how customers hearing her sing would seek her out in the store to tell her she has a beautiful voice.
That job was phased out, but she shifted into the role of greeter.
At first, she was nervous. She wondered if she would sound like a robot, rather than natural, when welcoming customers to the store.
She turned out to be comfortable from the start, not to mention a hit.
She is able to greet each customer with a genuine smile. And for the past two weeks, the welcome has been enhanced in song.
Turning the entrance to the store into a stage is not new for Pitre, however.
She has done some singing to her guitar playing during the past year to help raise money for various Walmart charities like the Children’s Wish Foundation and the IWK Health Centre.
Pitre, who lists “O’ Holy Night” as her favourite Christmas song, was singing long before starting work at Walmart two years ago.
She started singing in a church choir at age 10.
She has gone on to perform in many ceilidhs as well as sing at dances, weddings and funerals.
“There is a lot of music in our family,’’ she notes.
Pitre, who works 28 hours a week as a Walmart greeter, will be singing songs of the holiday season up to, and including, Dec. 24.
She welcomes the numerous song requests and is particularly delighted when customers sing along.