More From The Seven Eleven Chronicles

Over the four years I worked part time at 7-11 while attending college I had some interesting experiences, some of which I am glad I had, some I wish I never had and most of the rest fall somewhere in between those two extremes. I met some really cool people, some rich and famous and some real ******** – in other words a fairly average representation of the general population. Two of the people I feel the remember most were both older men, they were both around 80, and one was a truly sweet and wonderful man who was lonely and came in to visit me because he wanted a friend and I am blessed to have been smart enough at the young age I was to recognize this man’s value as a human being and having known him enriched my life and to this day I still have a gift he gave me, a turtle footstool. He made wooden footstools which the wood was formed into the shape of a turtle and the shell of the turtle's back was the padded foot rest. I have had many a kitten that has loved to beat up the turtle stool’s back and it still is in very good condition in its forever home in my living room. He was known to us all as the “turtle man” because of those footstools he made and eventually gave one of to all of us who worked at the store who had the intelligence to recognize a good man when we met one and had became friends with him. He used fabric that he was given by a local shop that reupholstered couches and he would have us employees that became friends with him pick out which fabric we wanted for the stools he insisted on giving us for allowing him to “hang out” and visit and drink coffee. He also sold them, not very many that I know of, so over the years I knew him when I worked there every member of my family was given a turtle footstool I bought for $15.00 to help him out and make him feel valuable more importantly. Many years after I quit working there, and moved on to the “real” world of working after being done with college, I remember reading about his death in the newspaper and I still remember his name which was Roy Graber, a very sweet old man who I will never forget having the privilege to have known him. The other interesting old man I met working there was “infamous” in his younger years but they had long since past when I met him and he was just a little sweet old man to me, but what he was infamous for was being involved in the last train robbery in the state of Oregon that I live in and he had spent almost his whole life in jail for a botched train robbery when he was only 23 years old. The only reason I even know this about the man was that he would write checks when he came in to buy a few groceries and a cup of coffee so I knew his name and one day the local postman, who also liked to hang out and visit with me and the owner of the store, told me a little bit about the man. It also happened that one of my favorite places to go every year with my sister and my mother was to a world famous music festival in the town of Jacksonville, OR (where gold was discovered in Oregon in the 1850's) which is a town on the national historic register because the town and its buildings are preserved as they have been since the town’s inception, and in the museum I visited several times, on the many trips to the town I made with my mother and sister to attend concerts, that one of those times was a display about the “last great train robbery” in the state of Oregon back in 1923 and one of the perpetrators of that robbery was the very polite and gentle old man who was one of my regular customers, Roy DeAutremont. He had been released from prison in 1971 and I met him in 1980 when he was 80 years old, he died 2 years after I quit working at 7-11 at the age of 84. He had been 23 years old when he took part in Oregon's most famous train robbery which also turned out to be one of the most badly-bungled non-robberies in the nation's history. Roy was a very gentle soul and was one of the politest people I have ever met and, not surprisingly, he never talked about the “great train robbery” he had spent most of his life in jail for. I met many other people while working there, some of them worth knowing and most of which I have long since forgotten, There were also a few incidents that occurred while I worked there which I will never forget. One of the most unforgettable was the time a man walked up to the counter and placed some groceries on it and I started ringing them up on the cash register and as I was doing so I realized he had quietly let his coat open up and he was naked underneath the coat. I didn’t make any acknowledgement that I had noticed his not having any clothes on and continued ringing up the items on the cash register and when I was finished I said the total out loud and looked him in the eyes and still didn’t allow him any knowledge that I knew he had no clothes on and he placed his money on the counter and I grabbed it and put it in the till and as I was getting the amount of change ready to give back him someone had walked in the store and the flasher had closed his coat so that the person couldn’t see he had no clothes on under his coat. So I was able to give him back the change without having to acknowledge his lack of clothes. He grabbed his bag of groceries and left the store as the man who had just come in walked up to the counter. I then told the man what had just happened and when he looked out to see where the “naked” man was he was long gone. I told the guy that I had just pretended not to notice the man didn’t have any clothes on and I started to laugh as I figured I probably spoiled his fun by not freaking out when he stood at the counter and let his coat open up. A couple of nights later he did the same thing to a co-worker of mine and she screamed and gave him the reaction he probably was looking for from me. Apparently he ran out of the store and we never saw him there again. There were a few shoplifting incidents over the years and one time a bum drank a couple of bottles of “Night Train” (I think that was what it was called) back by the coolers where I couldn’t really tell what he was doing, and as he stood in line waiting to purchase one item he may have had the money for, he got so drunk he fell on the floor and I called 911 because I thought it was a medical emergency until the ambulance got there and a customer had found the 2 empty bottles of wine he had chugged. He ended up being transported to jail for shoplifting and to sober up instead of taking an ambulance to the hospital. Those were the major events I remember from my “time” as a checker at the local 7-11.
Chelebub Chelebub
51-55, F
1 Response Dec 14, 2012

very interesting story

please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeAutremont_Brothers

I have a friend that lives in Mississauga, you are the 2nd person I have "met" from there. I realize it is kind of the same as being from Montreal but it is still a different "city".

Oh! Yes, its a big city, sort of a suburb of western Toronto. I live in the north, centre. Where roughly does your friend live or work ?