By Ashley Berkery
If you shop in the Publix in The Edgemont Center on Greensprings Highway in Homewood, you have mostly likely heard, “Hey Wayne,” a time or two.
That’s because Ben Wayne Gibson Jr. works there.
An encourager with his words and actions, he is a true light to those who are blessed to know him and cross paths with him. He has worked there since the store opened in 2003. His smile is contagious and he greets everyone who enters and leaves the store with a friendly, “Hello.” To those he knows personally, Wayne always asks about their family and is quick to reach out for a hug. He is quick to keep customers updated on his sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew, who live in Germany.
“Wayne is a people person,” said his mom, Dawn Gibson. “Don’t be surprised if he asks to come to your party if your grocery cart has yummy items in it.”
Wayne, 37, finished Homewood High School in 1994 after attending Homewood Middle School and Shades Cahaba Elementary School. When he walked across the stage at his high school graduation, his mother says he received the loudest applause of any other member of his class.
In the fall months, Wayne is eager to tell customers the score of the Friday night Homewood High School football games. He enthusiastically directs the band in the stands after they have performed the half-time show on the field. His mother says that Wayne is very musical. “He steadily directs with the tempo and he knows when the cut off is coming to all of the songs,” she said.
Wayne’s first official job after high school was bagging groceries at the former Winn-Dixie in the Palisades. Ben Wayne Gibson Sr. said that Wayne started out simply greeting customers in the front of the store while his mom shopped, and eventually he began to help them to the car with their groceries. “Anyone who shopped at Winn-Dixie knew Wayne and knew his friendly attitude,” his dad said. When Wayne’s dad approached the store manager to inquire about Wayne applying for a paying position, the manager surprisingly looked at Mr. Gibson and said with a smile and a chuckle, “Wayne has already asked me for a job, and I have already hired him.”
In his spare time, Wayne loves to watch the new big screen television he received for Christmas. He also enjoys eating out, and frequents the Homewood Diner in West Homewood. Since he loves all things Italian, he enjoys going to New York Pizza in Edgewood with his dad.
Homewood is a special place because of special people like Wayne Gibson. I am honored to know him, to have grown up with him, and to call him my friend. Wayne is a star shining brightly in our community.
To nominate someone for the Homewood Shining Star, email firstname.lastname@example.org.