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Kroger Hires Homeless Woman Who Slept In Parking Lot: 'I Finally Got Peace'

At one point in her life, LaShenda Williams would spend nearly every night sleeping in her car in the parking lot of her local Kroger grocery store. Although she usually drove around to different places during the day, when bedtime rolled around she would almost always park at the same supermarket.

“I would lean my seat all the way back so no one would see me because, you know, I knew I wasn’t supposed to be there,” Williams told NBC Nightly News.

At that point, the Nashville native had been homeless for nearly a year and was living entirely out of her own car.

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"I used to work two jobs," Williams said in a video posted by Kroger. "I lost one job and got laid off from the other job and I went jobless for a really long time. I ended up losing my home... and I ended up living in my car."

"I'm like, 'Lord, what do I do? Where am I going to go?'"

After months of secretly sleeping in the parking lot of that Kroger, Williams' entire life changed completely, all thanks to one woman.

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The store's hiring manager Jackie Vandal, told Williams that they were holding a job fair, and invited her to attend.

“It was just a sense, a gut feeling,” Vandal said. “You can just tell when people are really genuine and when people, you know, are trying."

Vandal said Williams was one of the very first applicants who showed up on the day of the fair, and together they spent hours filling out her application.

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After reviewing the application, Vandal told Williams she was hired.

"I said, 'What? I'm what?'" Williams recalled. "I cried and I cried... [Vandal] hugged me, and she whispered in my ear, 'We at Kroger, we're going to help you get on your feet.'"

In December 2019, just a few days after that life-changing job fair, Williams began working as a clerk in the store's self-checkout lanes.


After six months of employment, she had made enough money to afford a one-bedroom apartment for herself, which her coworkers at Kroger helped her to furnish.

"These workers that I work with are my family," Williams tearfully said. "When there [were] days I didn't know what I was going to do, they motivated me, they helped me. I've cried in their arms."

This month marks 10 months since Vandal took a chance on Williams and gave her a job, as well as an entirely new lease on life.


“We are so lucky to have Lashenda as part of our Kroger family,” Melissa Eads, a corporate affairs manager for Kroger's Nashville division, told TODAY. “Her uplifting spirit is contagious."

"She has made such a positive impact on her fellow team members, and so many customers as well."

For Williams, this opportunity is one she has never taken for granted, and she continues to work hard and to prove herself a valuable employee at Kroger.


"I was sleeping in a parking lot and looking for something to eat," she told the Nashville Tennessean. "Now, all my babies here love on me. No one abuses me, and no one calls me dumb and stupid."

"For the first time in my life, I finally got peace."

h/t: Kroger, TODAY, NBC Nightly News, Nashville Tennessean