- Associated Press - Monday, April 17, 2017

LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) - When Norma Gales walked into Lexington Drug for her first day of work at the lunch counter, she thought she had made a big mistake when she saw who many of the customers were.

As a self-proclaimed country girl, Gales felt out of place when she realized Lexington’s doctors, lawyers, business leaders and their spouses were frequenting the lunch counter which offers homemade egg salad, chicken salad and other sandwiches along with salads, fresh squeezed lemonade, orangeades and milkshakes. Growing up in foster care and having an unstable home life had sort of crushed Gales‘ confidence … made her uneasy around people she gave the title of ‘who’s who of Lexington.”

To her pleasant surprise, Gales learned quickly that her customers not only accepted her, but enjoyed their time bantering back and forth as they sipped on their orangeades and cherry Cokes. She realized the problem was no problem at all and had only been something in her own head.

“I didn’t think I would fit in here,” said the Thomasville resident, recalling those first few days at work.

Now those customers she had been uneasy about at first just make her day, she said, noting her co-workers and the store’s owners, Mark and Connie Motlow, also make her work environment enjoyable.

“Some people get up and think, ‘Oh no, I have to go to work,’ said the 1990 Central Davidson High School graduate. “I have never thought that here. For years I had been praying to God for a place to work where my co-workers weren’t foul mouthed or you had to hear dirty jokes or work in a hot, sweaty factory. It took him a while, but he led me to this place.”

Prior to coming to work at Lexington Drug on East Center Street, Gales worked at a variety of places. Some include TI Industries, Lampcrafters, and Winn Dixie. But one-by-one, each of these places closed.

Gales met her husband at the former Winn-Dixie grocery store on Highway 64. Although she swore she would never date someone at her workplace, she was instantly attracted to Mitch Gales when she walked in to apply for the job. By the time the grocery store closed all its Davidson County locations, the Galeses had two small children. They decided with the cost of daycare, it made more sense for her to stay home with the children until they went to school.

By the time her daughters, Sierra, 19 and Emily, 16, were both in school, the job market had pretty much frozen. Maggie Essick, a fellow church member at Westside Baptist, told her about the opening at Lexington Drug, and she realized a former Winn-Dixie co-worker also worked there in the pharmacy. Gales said she is so happy to find a work home at Lexington Drug.

“They are really good people,” she said, referring to the Motlows and her co-workers. “They are just super nice and very willing to help you in any way.”


Information from: The Dispatch, https://www.the-dispatch.com

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