99-year-old Kroger employee brings smiles to customers in Scottsburg

SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) -- She is the oldest Kroger employee in the nation and she works right here in Kentuckiana.

Co-workers and customers say Eva Hobson's age isn't what makes her so popular.

She's a familiar face in Scottsburg, Indiana.

"I normally see her at least once a week," said Sheilah Williams, a longtime friend and customer.

She's a legend in her line of work.

"It's worldwide with Jay C. Everybody knows about Eva," said Debbie Allen, store manager of Jay C.

She's like family inside this little grocery store.

"She's superb. She is the most heartwarming, caring, loving person you'll ever want to meet. If you could think of the ultimate grandmother, that's Eva," said Cherri Shearer, who also works as a store manager for Jay C.

For 12 hours every week, Hobson is there to greet you at the end of the checkout line.

"I've been with the company off and on since 1941," Hobson said.

Her time with the Kroger company dates back to when she and her husband managed another Jay C location.

"She doesn't look 99 and she doesn't act 99," Williams said.

She's spent nearly 80 years in customer service. 

She's a vision in red, wearing her signature pearls and a smile that customers can depend on.

"She has a special place in my heart, just because of who she is and how she portrays herself and what she represents to so many people. You couldn't find a better person," Shearer said.

Eva still drives, does her own yard work and holds it down at work.

"She works circles around the kids," Shearer said.

"She can put them to shame," Allen said. "She gets mad sometimes if we don't let her go bring a cart in. She wants to at least pull a cart in to help do her share."

Eva is always on the go and at 99 years young, she has no plans on retiring.

"(During) our conversation yesterday, she asked me if it's time for her to go. I said, 'no.' I told her a long time ago, when it was time for her to go, she had to come to me and she had a job here as long as she wanted to work," Shearer said. "She smiled. She had tears in her eyes and she said, 'Okay, it's a deal.'"

A weekly errand for so many has grown into so much more.

"Go out and live life to the fullest. Enjoy every minute of it," Shearer said.

It's a lifetime in the business of working with people.

"There are so many friends and a lot of the little kids that have grown up and now, they're adults and I just love being with the people," Hobson said.

Eva will turn 100 years old on October 16. Her Kroger family is already planning a big birthday bash.

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