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Tesco Employee Won't Speak To Customers For Three Months

Dominic Smithers

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Tesco Employee Won't Speak To Customers For Three Months

Featured Image Credit: Essex Live/BPM Media

A Tesco employee has vowed to not speak to any customer for three months.

Lee Clark describes himself as fairly 'noisy and chatty' usually, but he has taken a vow of silence and won't even speak to his colleagues at the Southchurch Road branch of Tesco in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

But it's not because he's fallen out with anyone.

The 40-year-old it taking part in a sponsored silence in a bid to raise some money for Cancer Research, British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK.

The dad-of-five started the fundraiser last month and is set to finish on 10 April.

Until then, Lee will only be able to communicate to customers and colleagues by using flashcards and pens and paper, and will walk around with a board around his neck explaining what he is doing.

Speaking about fundraiser, Lee said it's actually quite tiring.

Credit: Essex Live/BPM Media
Credit: Essex Live/BPM Media

"It could be quite draining because you try not to slip up and try to focus," he said.

"It can be a horrible experience but, again, I'm lucky I can put myself in that position to help someone else and I'll happily do that every single time.

“That's what gets me through, it is usually every time because the sponsor silence is a very lonely place. I feel very lonely, it is quite isolated in a sense."

But this isn't the first time Lee has taken on the challenge as it's the 15th year he has taken the vow of silence for charity.

The first time round, he raised £800 for the Lennox Lewis Cancer Fund.

"It was phenomenal because I've never done anything like that in my life before, so it really got me," he said.

"It gave me the bug for fundraising as well. I just saw the response as well as the love and support it brought.

"People were coming in to see me just to donate in the bucket, not necessarily buying anything though, just getting involved and it meant a lot to me personally that I brought the community together for this fundraiser. It was a brilliant experience.

"I saw the difference it makes to people and that's what I never experienced before. You’re helping someone and they're helping you, there is no better feeling than that.

"I love giving, I give what I can or where I can, supporting and helping. It’s like Christmas, you get more enjoyment out of gifting presents rather than receiving them and I get that by doing a fundraiser."

Credit: Essex Live/BPM Media
Credit: Essex Live/BPM Media

Lee has been increasing the amount of time he spends in silence, extending it by a day each year.

And since 2007, he has organised or participated in 108 charity events - raising an incredible £178,000 for 32 different charities.

He said: "It’s just an amazing community we live in. Regular customers, my colleagues and the support that I get from everyone is phenomenal.

"It’s my 15th one, so it's quite an achievement in that sense and no one gets bored of it. They love me being quiet."

"If I’m not talking to them, they are like ‘you’re the quiet one again?’

"There are some that think I’m being rude and they see the sign and realise that I'm not."

And when he's done with this challenge, he's hoping to carry on with the fundraising, and plans to complete the London Marathon and climb Mount Kilimanjaro this year.

Topics: Tesco, UK News, Charity

Dominic Smithers
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