Chestnut Hill Grocery staffer Kirklin Robertson hopped on his bike to get to work last July 12, and ended up in the ICU at Einstein Medical Center. Hit by a truck and knocked to the street, he sustained a brain injury that sidelined him for nine months. But now he’s back in a limited role, happy to be alive and working.
“Honestly, you don’t know how much people appreciate you until you need them to show it and be there for you,” said Kirk, who returned to the Chestnut Hill store in late April. “That’s a great experience, and I mean not just the coworkers, but the community of Weavers Way.”
For now, Kirk, 26, is approved for 10-20 hours a week. He finds he has trouble remembering all the products in Grocery, so he likes to work back stock to help improve his recall. “My co-workers are extremely supportive,” he said. “The customers are very patient with me when I say, ‘Hey, I don’t know where that goes. I’m new here.' I’ve gotten used to saying that.”
He does credit the accident and its aftermath for giving him perspective. After attending Tuskegee University for a year and getting an associate degree in chemistry from Community College of Philadelphia, he realizes he may have been coasting a bit in his previous role as the Hill’s bulk buyer. Now he’s applying to colleges in hopes of getting his bachelor’s degree, with an eye toward teaching chemistry.
“Now I can look back on that, and I understand that I was getting comfortable,” he said. “But I can also appreciate that I found something that allowed me to get that comfortable. . . . so I’m glad to be back, and I’m glad to be back here, and I’m glad to be back planning for my future.”
— Karen Plourde