PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Whether she's handing out stickers to kids, or greeting Target shoppers when they walk in, Shawn Phelps goes out of her way to connect with customers.
"I can go into the store, and I'll be having like a hum drum day, and then I'll see Shawnee, and I'm like right on, it's cool," said customer Denise Flores.
The Phoenix mom has found a way to make shopping fun at the Target store off 27th Avenue and the 101 freeway in north Phoenix.
A joke here. A smile there.
Whatever it takes to let customers know she cares.
"It's the quality of service you give to your guests, it makes them come back," said Phelps. "They might even drive another 5 miles and come see me because I'm their favorite cashier. I have a little girl who runs up to me and gives me a hug, just because I'm her favorite. Why? Just because I say hi to her, so that does my soul good."
About a year ago, Flores' husband died.
Flores said the pain and sadness were overwhelming, but it was her visits to this Target store and Phelps' love, and support that got her through it.
"When you go through such deep grief, sometimes you don't want to be around," said Flores. "She was like a lifesaver for me."
Flores was so grateful that she reached out to CBS 5 to Pay It Forward to the Target employee who puts "kindness" into customer service.
A CBS 5 news crew followed along for the big surprise.
"You go above and beyond with your customers," said Flores. "When I walk in here, I don't even have to see you, I can hear your voice and it makes me smile. I reached out to Channel 5 and their Pay It Forward. So on behalf of Channel 5 and Target and me, here's $500 because you deserve it."
"All she felt that I did for her, she doubled it for me," said Phelps. "Sometimes, all it takes is a smile."