If you’ve lived without social media longer than living with it, you might be leery of socially engaging online. Then, without intention, someone posts that their dog or cat is missing in your neighborhood, or even beyond, and you find yourself driving, calling, and praying you find their beloved pet. Suddenly, you’re social media hooked and if not engaging with family, friends, and strangers, you at least appreciate their posts.
Kevin Woodard, longtime Evergreen resident, never peruses social media sites, but many within our mountain community ensure this longtime Safeway cashier receives ongoing and well deserved praise and recognition via various online platforms.
Born in Fargo, ND to Anne and Patrick Woodard, the family moved from Fargo to Connecticut before moving to Colorado in 1989. Kevin’s dad, an anchor for Clear Channel Radio and owner of Pat Woodard Productions, is an iconic producer, writer, narrator and anchor.
“I never thought I’d be popular on social media,” Kevin says, when we discuss the countless posts that reveal our mountain community’s admiration of him. Social status, as well as surfing social media, means little to Kevin, but being efficient, hardworking and accurate means everything to him.
Kevin’s dad ingrained the importance of having a positive outlook that is deeply woven into his son’s character. Why? “Because I have Tourette Syndrome and felt self-conscious regarding my tics when I was a kid. My dad, who refers to Tourette’s as the T-situation, often told me, ‘Everyone has a situation and their own defects to contend with. You’re no different, Kevin. You might not think it now, but you will learn how to deal with the T-situation.’”
Kevin gleaned encouragement, love and positivity from his parents, sister Erin, and extended family. “When I felt down, my grandparents encouraged me to ‘let it go and don’t worry about having Tourette’s.’ There was speculation that my dad may or may not have had the T-situation, but it wasn’t a topic anyone discussed. My family gave me confidence and helped me not to worry about the T-situation by influencing me to dwell on the positive and not the negative. They always encouraged me to be interactive with people, and their advice has paid off.”
Three iconic teachers also influenced Kevin. He recounts, “While attending Bergen Elementary School, Mr. McFadden was my favorite teacher because he was so kind to me. Mr. Howard Duncan was my Physical Science teacher when I attended Evergreen Junior High (now Evergreen Middle School). Physical Science was my best subject and I still remember how Mr. Duncan taught me how to set up labs and do interesting experiments. Mr. Ondris was my Economics teacher at Evergreen High School, and he taught me what was going on in the world. I also enjoyed my Algebra and English classes, but I loved studying about space and the earth’s atmospheres because I wanted to become an astronaut.”
Kevin also loved building cars with Legos as a kid, which he claimed he did “nonstop until 2002,” and adds, “my favorite childhood memories are being outside, going on long walks, and watching the wildlife.” In spite of owning a beautiful Toyota SUV, Kevin remains an avid walker, taking jaunty strides that transport him from one side of Evergreen to the other, which he does a minimum of six days a week regardless of the weather or wildlife encounters. “Not too long ago, I was walking downhill alongside CO-74 around 2 pm when a bear ran in front of me and disappeared on Ponderosa Drive.” Kevin considers close encounters with wildlife a blessing.
Graduating from Evergreen High School in 2004, Kevin immediately applied for the position of courtesy clerk at Golden’s Safeway. His first day on the job was October 12, 2004. He recalls, “When I moved to Golden, I found an apartment that was close to Safeway making it easy to walk to and from work. In 2006, I applied for the position of checker at Evergreen’s Safeway and was hired.” Financially savvy, Kevin says, “To save money, I rented an apartment in Lakewood in March 2010, and 21⁄2 years later, I purchased a condo in Evergreen that’s close to Safeway. In late 2014, I acquired a vacation condo in Mesquite, Nevada, then started renting a single dwelling home that I continue to go to every year. I’m particularly fond of the miniature golf course I created in the backyard.” Now in his 40s, Kevin plans to retire to Mesquite in 20 years.
Never idle, Kevin turned two of his hobbies into side businesses. “I started creating mini traffic signs that I sold on eBay from late 2010 until early 2018. I also built birdhouses and feeders to sell, but due to issues with my neck, I had to be careful not to bend over too much, so I now have birdhouses premade that I sell.”
Among Kevin’s great admirers is Evergreen Safeway’s store manager, Brett Clousing, who claims, “Kevin is an outstanding employee and has been since the day he was hired. He does a tremendous job for us and makes an incredible connection with customers. Customers will wait in his line, even if it’s a tad longer, just so they can talk to him. Customers who don’t go through his line will stop at his check stand just to say hi. Kevin has the uncanny ability to remember everyone’s name, which is also amazing. Two years ago, someone posted on Facebook how much they appreciated Kevin and he had over 500 likes.”
Because of Kevin’s radiant persona and public admiration, he’s quite popular, proven by a long list of admirers who continuously ask him to join them for a meal or holiday celebration. “I was very shy when I first started working with the public,” Kevin admits, “but never did I feel like my friends made fun of me. Throughout my life, I have received confidence and encouragement from teachers, friends, and my family to be communicative. That has certainly helped me at work, and my customers generously include me as their guest for Christmas and Easter, which makes me feel special, not different.”
Kevin is looking forward to celebrating working 20 years for Safeway in 2024, and adds, “I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”