Meet Marlene Young, Alabama’s “Queen of Walmart,” and Our New Favorite Person
You aren’t expected to bow if she catches your eye at the Sumiton Walmart, but you might have a hard time trying not to smile.
The Walmart Supercenter in Sumiton, Alabama, isn’t exactly Buckingham Palace. But there is a good chance you’ll come in contact with royalty when you walk through those sliding doors.
That’s because Marlene Young is no ordinary People Greeter—she’s a queen.
“When I first started working here, a coworker made me a crown just as a joke, and wrote on it ‘Queen of Grocery Door,’” Young explains in a video for People of Alabama. “It just so happens the manager liked it, the customers liked it, and it caught on.”
Today, Young has a collection of 21 tiaras and a large assortment of headbands. Some have rhinestones, some have fur, some even have eyes that pop out.
“It just became a part of my uniform,” she says of her signature headpieces. “I don’t feel dressed if I don’t have it on.”
Now, you aren’t expected to bow if she catches your eye, but you might have a hard time trying not to smile.
Young says her ascension to royal status is due to the simple fact that she likes people. She likes helping them too. “They’re not just customers to me, they’re friends,” she says. “And if they’re depressed or down about something, I listen to them. If they need a hug, I give them a hug. If they need to cry, I let them cry.”
“They show me their pictures of their newborns, tell me the accomplishments of their children, their grandchildren and of themselves,” Young continued. “It makes me feel like I am a part of everybody I come in contact with.”
Though it may seem like she was born to rule, Young told People of Alabama that her path to queendom wasn’t always certain.
“When I was younger I wanted to be glamorous,” she recalls. “I could never be in the beauty pageants because we couldn’t afford it. I never had a chance to go anywhere or do anything that I felt glamorous, so I’m doing that at Walmart.”
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Now, with plastic tiaras perched atop her well-coiffed head of white hair, her mission is as humble as she is.
“If I can make one person happy every day when I go to work, I have been good,” she concludes. “It makes me feel like a queen.”