Sulphur community gathers to celebrate beloved Kroger employee's - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Sulphur community gathers to celebrate beloved Kroger employee's birthday

(Source: Candy Rodriguez/KPLC) (Source: Candy Rodriguez/KPLC)

Stop by Kroger in Sulphur and you'll probably come across Brian Conner.

He's a dedicated and loyal employee who's been with the company for 22 years. 

"I love bagging groceries," said Conner. 

On Wednesday, Conner was extra chipper, not just because he loves his job but because his birthday is on Thursday, April 26. 

Customers at the grocery store knew that and Conner couldn't escape all the hugs. 

Conner's customers love him so much that a group of them decided to surprise him for his birthday. 

Monica Dishong organized the surprise via Facebook after realizing Brian was a lot more popular than she thought. 

The group met on the left side of the building, waiting to surprise the beloved employee. They finally entered the store around 11:45 a.m.

"The thing about Brian is, Brian loves unconditionally," said Dishong. "He loves without any bias. It's almost like Christ-like love where he is going to love us whether we love him or not."

And you don't have to tell that to his boss.

"Everybody loves him and he loves everybody," said store manager. Stephanie Reliford. "He was telling everybody [about his birthday] and then they were asking when and he told them and they asked and he said 'Well, I'll be off for my birthday so they decided to come the day before.' "

For more than two decades, Conner has been bagging and helping customers with their grocery bags. 

"He always say hi, he waves if he recognizes you," said Cathy Lawson, a regular Kroger customer. "Always friendly and always helpful."

"He takes good care of us," added Kassy Fontenot.

Conner is turning 48 and his parents couldn't be more proud.

"I'm speechless; I don't know what to say," said mom Rena Arneaux. "Just that I am so proud that he is so loved. That's a handicap parent's nightmare is them going out in public and how they're going to be treated and how people are going to react to them and to see how much everybody here in Sulphur loves this kid, it's amazing."

"He's an inspiration," said his father, Ray Arneaux.

As far as Conner goes, he couldn't feel any more "happy," he said. "I'm happy."

The City of Sulphur has proclaimed Thursday, April 27, as "Brian Conner Day" in honor of his birthday. 

Kroger released a statement:

"Kroger has an established history of hiring individuals with special needs and disabilities, especially in roles that directly interact with our customers. We’re extremely proud of Brian and his 20 years of service."

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved. 

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