Member Stories

Neighbors in Austin Celebrate Beloved Walgreens Cashier

Written by Anne Dreshfield

For neighbors in West Lake Hills in Austin, TX, their local Walgreens cashier is more than just a friendly face.

Neighbors say Alvin Easter, who is 72-years-old, inspires many of them to be better people in their everyday lives.

A local neighbor, Allen Gilmer, started a conversation about Alvin’s inspiring attitude on his neighborhood’s Nextdoor website. More than 230 neighbors thanked the post, and 150 joined in on the conversation about Alvin. Neighbors shared that some of them even waited in a longer line just to check out with Alvin and chat with him.

“He is one of the most gracious and nice fellows I’ve ever met,” wrote one neighbor. “Thank you, Alvin, for showing me the meaning of true grace in a less gracious time. You set a fine example.”

Other neighbors chimed in, calling Alvin a good listener, incredibly polite, kind, positive, and a person who is always willing to go the extra mile to help others.

A native of San Antonio, Alvin went through a difficult childhood. His parents divorced when he was three, and he lived with relatives before his mother eventually re-married.

“My foundation was the church,” Easter said. “We were Southern Baptists, and were in church all day on Sunday.”

Alvin later went on to experience segregation first hand as a young adult, which has inspired him to “never want to make someone feel less than.”

“That guides me in my interaction with people today,” he shared. “I want to be extra courteous to make people feel like they are welcome and they belong.”

Alvin went on to be one of only 200 African-Americans to attend the University of Texas from 1962-1967. He majored in math and minored in electrical engineering. After college, he planned to pursue a job at the state capitol, but a friend suggested he look at IBM. They hired him immediately.

After a 39-year career in sales, technical support, customer education, and management, in both Texas and California, Alvin returned to Texas and settled down with his wife in Austin.

Not long into his retirement, Alvin began to take care of some very sick relatives, which depleted some of his savings. He took the job at Walgreens soon after to help make ends meet.

Neighbors, to this day, are grateful for Alvin’s unwavering good spirit and joy. After seeing the outpouring of love for Alvin on Nextdoor, and reading about the recent passing of his mother, a neighbor set of a fundraising effort for Alvin and his family.

In just over two weeks, more than 200 neighbors donated money to the cause, raising nearly $10,000.

The community was honored to present Alvin the check and share their compiled notes of appreciation and gratitude for the man who has touched all of their lives, sometimes with just a friendly smile.

As for Alvin, he says he lives by words of German philosopher Goethe: “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”


Originally reported by the Austin American Statesman.

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