Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: JoAnn Shaughnessy


Here's the bag. Photo courtesy of Robin Bates-Mason

[Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a new “Quiet Heroes” series. We’re accepting nominations for it, see guidelines here.]

Robin Bates-Mason, who gives of her time for the town’s Volunteer Shopping Program, visited Walter Stewart’s Market as usual one day last week. 

JoAnn Shaughnessy of Walter Stewart’s Market. Photo courtesy of Stewart’s, published without her knowledge

Picking up groceries for “her” designated senior, New Canaan’s Margaret Cooper, Bates-Mason found herself in JoAnn Shaughnessy’s lane.

A cashier at Stewart’s for about two years, Shaughnessy recognized Cooper’s name.

“She said, ‘Oh, hold on a sec, I just want to write her a message’ and ran over to get a marker,” Bates-Mason recalled. 

Shaughnessy wrote: “Hi Margaret. Hope you’re well. We miss you. Joann.”

“It was very much from the heart,” Bates-Mason recalled. 

Cooper told Bates-Mason that she was moved by it.

“That was so sweet of her, and of you too!” she wrote in a text to Bates-Mason after the groceries had been safely delivered. 

Walter Stewart’s store manager Ann Cheney said she was “not surprised” to hear of Shaughnessy’s kindness.

“Joann is extremely thoughtful,” Cheney said. “She has her customers first and foremost in her mind. She comes work every day, just brings a great attitude. She is not unlike other cashiers here, she has developed a great rapport with her customers and knows them by name. Joann is so professional. She brings a smile into work and during these COVID-19 times, she has not wavered from that. At a time when many might be fearful, she puts on her PPE [personal protective equipment] and rolls with it. Nothing is different. She has kept that level of professionalism and warmth with regard to her customers throughout this whole experience.”

7 thoughts on “Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: JoAnn Shaughnessy

  1. JoAnn is an Angel. She’s one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I know. Life is better with JoAnn in our world. ❤️

  2. I miss you too, JoAnn! And everyone else at Walter Stewart’s, which is like a second home.

    People like you and Robin Bates-Mason, who has been kind enough to volunteer to be our designated “shopper” , make this town a wonderful place to live under normal circumstances and a haven in trying times like these. Hats off to all of you who have answered the call to service.

  3. I always look to find JoAnn at check out as she has such a wonderful, positive attitude. Thank you for all you do!

  4. I have known JoAnn for many years. She is without a doubt an extremely warm and caring person, spreading kindness wherever she goes. ❤️

  5. JoAnn is a fantastically thorough & helpful! The icing on the cake is that she is so friendly and kind and pleasant. Special shout out to Marie, who is just so as well! Charming! They both brighten the day immeasurably!

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