Greer’s Do it Best Hardware is known for employees offering friendly greetings and handing out fresh popcorn at the checkout station.
When the store in downtown Tremonton installed Plexiglas panels in front of its cash registers as a deterrent to the spread of the new coronavirus, the barriers just didn’t seem to fit with that personal, hometown touch — and that’s when store employee Emily Walton stepped in.
Where others saw a cold, hard reminder of socially distant times, Walton saw a blank canvas and a way to help ease customers’ anxiety.
For the past month or so, Walton has been using markers to draw popular cartoon characters on the panels. She works five days a week at the store and refreshes the panels on an almost daily basis, drawing everything from classics like Felix the Cat and Bugs Bunny to characters from “The Simpsons.”
It’s a win for Walton, a senior at Bear River High, who counts drawing among her favorite hobbies along with cooking, sewing and other hands-on activities.
“I draw all the time,” she said. “My teachers get mad at me because I doodle on everything.”
It’s also a win for fellow employees and customers, who have come to expect new drawings on a regular basis when they walk through the front door.
“I started getting requests,” she said. “Customers will say ‘I already saw this one. You ought to change it.’”
Walton is happy to oblige, as long as it fits with the theme.
“I can do anything but real life,” she said. “It’s just cartoons. I like the old-timey stuff.”
Walton is one of hundreds of local high school seniors who have had to adjust to their graduation plans being upended by the pandemic, but she takes it in stride.
“It’s still kind of sad, but it is what it is,” she said. “I can’t change it.”
She’s planning to attend BYU-Idaho in the fall before going on a church mission. In the meantime, Walton plans to keep doing her part to brighten peoples’ days and help take their minds off of their worries, one cartoon character at a time.
“They’re kind of easy to draw and people enjoy them, so I just keep doing them,” she said. “If it helps people feel better, why not?”