Developmentally disabled employee puts Marc's shoppers in holiday spirit

Developmentally disabled employee puts Marc's shoppers in holiday spirit
He's set up right by checkout so everyone gets to enjoy his music. (Source: WOIO)
He's set up right by checkout so everyone gets to enjoy his music. (Source: WOIO)

STRONGSVILLE, OH (WOIO) - Gene Sardon Jr. spent Wednesday joyfully playing the keyboard somewhere in between the produce and the carts at Marc's in Strongsville.

For 18 years, customers there have become accustomed to seeing Sardon collecting the carts. But for two days every year right before Christmas, he shares his gift of music at the checkout. He plays all your holiday favorites while decked out in a Santa hat.

"We know Gene. We see him three or four times a week. It's a delight to see him here at Christmas time playing music for us," said John Lazo, of Strongsville, a regular shopper at Marc's.

Every year customers look forward to Sardon's musical treat.

"The customers love him. They ask for him three, four weeks ahead of time. 'When's Gene playing? When Gene's playing?' They love him, and we love him," said Sue Malecki, who runs the front of the store.

The live musical performance started years ago.

"I told my manager, 'I play piano. I'd like to play my keyboard and play Christmas songs.' I brought the idea up," said Sardon with a smile.

Sardon is disabled, but that doesn't stop him from constantly giving back.

"[He's] all about giving back! Every Sunday he has a minivan, he takes people to and from church to make sure they get to church, and he also plays every Sunday at church," said store manager Tim O'Donnell.

Customers say it just wouldn't be Christmas without Sardon banging out holiday hits.

In fact, Sardon reminds us that we all have something to give and that you may find the spirit of Christmas in some unexpected places. In this case, it's at the checkout line at Marc's.

You can hear Sardon play on Christmas Eve at the Marc's in Strongsville from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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