Longtime Wal-Mart greeter retires

Stephanie Backus/FULTON SUN photo
Milly Terrell greeted people at Wal-Mart for the last time on Wednesday. The store held a retirement celebration for the long-standing employee. Many of her co-workers were tearful in their goodbyes.

Stephanie Backus/FULTON SUN photo Milly Terrell greeted people at Wal-Mart for the last time on Wednesday. The store held a retirement celebration for the long-standing employee. Many of her co-workers were tearful in their goodbyes.

For “25 years and four months” her smiling face has been the first thing customers see when they walk into the Fulton Wal-Mart.

After Wednesday, the friends and fans Milly Terrell has made over the years will have to wait until she goes shopping herself to see that trademark grin, as she finally retires as the store’s daytime greeter.

“I just thought it was time,” Terrell said of her decision. “I’ll turn 85 on December the second, so I knew it was time.”

She said she started with the company all those years ago because she needed a better job after her husband died.

“It’s been very good for me,” Terrell said, noting her favorite part of being a Wal-Mart greeter is “the management, employees and customers."

“It’s just been great and I’ve really been blessed through the years.”

Although she is looking forward to spending time “catching up,” Terrell said she will miss coming in to greet and visit with her friends at Wal-Mart.

“I’m really going to miss it,” she said. “I like to work, and it’s just been good for me.”

Surrounded by smiling and teary-eyed coworkers Wednesday afternoon, Terrell seemed a little embarrassed at all of the attention she was receiving as they paid tribute to a woman described by several as family.

“She’s just like my grandma,” said Tammy Wyman, who has worked with Terrell for seven years. “If she doesn’t come in, we call to make sure she’s okay — it’s kind of like a family here.”

She said she is going to miss the positive effect Terrell has on those around her.

“You could have the worst day and then see her smiling face and think, ‘What can I complain about? She’s still going,’” Wyman said.

“She’s always so happy. I don’t think she’s ever had a bad day — or if she did, you wouldn’t know it,” agreed Brenetta Douglass, who has worked with Terrell for 20 years. “I’m going to miss her outgoing personality and her smile. When I walked in today and she saw me, she started to cry.”

Sherrie Atterbery said she, too, would miss seeing Terrell at the door every day and “her upbeat, outgoing personality.

“She’s a special lady; she’s never down, she always calls you by name. She’s the definition of a greeter,” Atterbery said.

Tony Loehr echoed the statements about missing Terrell’s constantly smiling face.

“She’s so personable. Literally every customer that walks through the door knows who she is — the kids love her,” Loehr said. “She’s always got a smile on her face, she’s always cheerful.

“I’m going to miss just walking in every day and seeing her smile. I know you’ve heard that 50 times, but that’s just it.”

Kawanna Lewis, who has worked with Terrell for 12 years, said she’s going to miss her cheerful mothering of the Wal-Mart staff.

“She always has a smile no matter what,” Lewis said. “There’s 200-and-some associates, and over half of them she remembers their birthdays and gives them a Rice Krispy Treat.”

Asked why she thought recognizing her coworkers on their birthday was so important, Fulton Wal-Mart’s grandma said it was just something she does.

“I always sing Happy Birthday to them and they get three Rice Krispies, $3 and a note,” Terrell said. “It’s just a little something.”

One of her co-workers asked, “Who’s going to sing for us now?”

“I’m going to do that from home, now,” Terrell said.

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