I had the opportunity to meet with Jai Cairo the other day to hear about his employment experiences. Jai was excited to tell his story and was a great storyteller. I hope you enjoy his employment success story as much as I did.
Jai has been working for the past year at the IGA in Kitsilano. His job includes a variety of tasks including packing groceries, breaking down boxes, putting baskets away, stocking the ice cream in the cooler, and cleaning the floors. Jai expressed that many of his tasks are “a good workout” helping to keep him fit and strong. As I got to know Jai throughout our meeting, it also became clear how gifted he was at sales and customer service.
After talking with Jai about his experiences, he toured me around the IGA. Earlier Jai and I discovered that we both have an allergy to wheat. During our tour Jai specifically took me to all of the gluten free products available, offering advice about which ones were the yummiest. He was so enthusiastic about the products that I found myself wanting to buy them all right then and there!
When I asked Jai what he loves most about working at the IGA he shared with a huge smile “it has everything, lots of treats, the best chips in town!” He told me about the perks of having a discount. Jai also shared that he has made many friends at the IGA. He also loves that it is in his neighborhood just a few blocks away from home.
Jai got his job through a friend from his old neighborhood grocery store who now works at the IGA. Jai shared that they “go way back” and bumped into each other in the IGA one day while he was grocery shopping with his family. When Jai told her he was looking for work, she said “why don’t you try here?” He did, and got the job! The owner of the IGA was immediately impressed by Jai when he showed up for his interview wearing a suit and tie and said that his friendly and polite personality sealed the deal. Jai was thrilled to get the job and shared that to celebrate his family went out for ribs and ice cream.
When Jai first started working he had a job coach help him learn the ropes. His job coach had planned on staying to help for eight weeks but after six weeks Jai’s employers let her know that Jai was now part of the IGA team and was ready to work on his own!
Thank you, Jai for sharing your story with us and for inspiring us all to have the courage to put on our best clothes, our biggest smile, and go out there to find that place where we are proud to serve our community.
By Dayna Kneeland