In six months, LaShenda Williams earned enough money to get her own apartment.
Lashenda Williams Kroger
Credit: Kroger

On most weekdays, you’ll find LaShenda Williams working as a self-checkout associate at the Kroger in Nashville’s Inglewood neighborhood. Seeing her smiling eyes (above her mask) now, it’s hard to believe that less than a year ago, the 46-year-old was homeless and living in her car in the grocery store’s parking lot.

Williams’ life changed 10 months ago, when Kroger hiring manager Jackie Vandal decided to take a chance on her.

"You get a feel if someone’s sincere or if they’re just trying to get a job to say they got one and then quit a month later," Vandal told USA Today. "She was very sincere."

Last year, after a life plagued by drug addiction, abuse, and abandonment, Williams lost two jobs and was forced to give up her home. By January she was spending her nights in the Kroger lot, cold, hungry and praying for better days.

Better days eventually came in the form of a job fair.

“One day I came up here, and they had a job fair. And I sat down at the table, and they said, ‘You’re hired.’ And I remember that day, as clear as day, and I said, ‘What?’” Williams recalled in a touching video distributed by the grocery chain.

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After six months of working at Kroger, Williams had earned enough money to get her own apartment. The job saved her life in more ways than one.

“If it wasn’t for the workers in here … When I was hungry, they fed me. When I was thirsty, they gave [helped] me. When I needed a pair of gloves, they gave it to me,” Williams continued, fighting back tears. “These workers that I work with, are my family.”