Grocery bagger Don Morrison, 77, brightens everyone's day at the Bloomington Rainbow store, especially that of retired school secretary Sue Fritz, 65.
Duets: Portraits in words and pictures
Every other checkout line is shorter, but Sue Fritz isn't budging. She's content to wait five shoppers back in line 6 of the Bloomington Rainbow store, as she does every Wednesday.
Here, her pot-of-gold awaits, dressed in a black apron, white shirt and red vest sagging under the weight of numerous customer appreciation pins.
"He tells me I'm his special one, but I'm not his only girlfriend," Sue, 65, says with a smile.
After her hip replacement and complications from Parkinson's disease, Sue started shopping at this Rainbow near her home, "strictly because of the motorized cart. I came back strictly because of Don."
Don Morrison, 77, retired after 50 years as a union lather. The married father of four and grandfather of 13 has been bagging groceries four days a week for nearly five years. He says it's to help pay for his prescriptions but, really, Don "The Rainbow Man," as everybody knows him, bags groceries because his gas tank runs on good cheer. He knows his customers by name, and keeps up with their ailments and grandkids.
"If I'm not here, some customers will turn around and leave," he says proudly. "No baloney."
He tells jokes, gives treats to the small fry and breaks out in "The Minnesota Rouser." Each December, guess who dresses up as Santa Claus?
"You can't stay mad when he's here," says Sue, a retired school secretary and the grandmother of five. "See that line?" Sue says, crossing the last item off her list and heading toward the checkout. "You can hear him before you get there."
Sue's husband, Bob, is happy that Don's around to ease her load.
Finally, it's her turn.
"If you knew Susie, like I know Susie," Don croons, bagging Sue's groceries and singing the song he reserves just for her.
As always, Don accompanies Sue to the parking lot to load her bags into her car.
"Double coupons are great," Sue says, giving the Rainbow Man a hug. "But not if you don't have Don."
Do you know a special duo?
“Duets” is an occasional feature that celebrates unique relationships between two people. Send ideas to email@example.com or call 612-673-7350. Please put “Duets” in the subject line.