There were few dry eyes left in the room long before the heartfelt sentiments and speeches were done when 100 Mile House Safeway manager Sean Watson was bid au revoir – but not goodbye – at a staff party held in his honour on March 17.
The room was filled with emotions as the group shared their thanks and best wishes. Sean noted all the many current and past employees, and even a few invited customers who were there to wish him well at his appreciation lunch.
The longtime store manager is moving on to a new Safeway store based in Kelowna, along with his wife and four children, who were also guests at the luncheon.
However, the family atmosphere at their store is what was remarked on by many, including Sean himself, who was clearly feeling bittersweet emotions when he told his longtime staff and managers how he’d remember them, and see them again down the road.
“You guys have been there for me in a lot of ways, and more than I can say today in this room.’ said Sean.”You’ve supported me, you’ve ‘molded’ me [he chuckled], you are my first store and I got a chance to be a part of a family. I never gave you guys your family back, it was always there. You just needed to be reminded of what you had.”
The local store employees made him welcome and comfortable right from the start, he said, adding and they are “amazing people who do amazing things for everyone they see in their store,” he added.
Assistant manager Stephen Kostiuk said Sean’s absence has already left a big empty spot in his own life, as well as in so many others at the local Safeway.
“I’m not losing a friend, I’m losing a boss. You are still my friend, and you always will be.
“You will be dearly missed, a lot, and everybody here has grown to appreciate you for everything it is you do for us. You made us into a family.”
Sean replied if they continue to work as this team and support each other as well as they do now, they will always be a family at their 100 Mile House store, no matter what manager ever walks through their door.
“You guys have got a team that can accomplish anything.”
The party mood returned as they all dug into their special lunch and cake while Sean opened some gifts presented to him, both by the general staff, and by Christian Samson of Cedar Crest Society for Community Living, who worked at the store for several years and also added his own sincere thanks and recognition of the personal importance of Sean’s longtime mentoring and friendship.