LIHU‘E — Next time you’re waiting to get checked out at Kmart, remember this: The service can’t get any better. Kmart employee Jazzlyn Pasion-Saflor returned this week to Kaua‘i after winning in Chicago the nationwide title of “The Ultimate Cashier,” topping tens of thousands of competitors.
Words could not escape her lips Thursday night. Stunned by the sight before her, the Kmart electronics department associate froze in the doorway at the Lihu‘e Airport, her young mind trying to grasp the scene.
Kmart manager Jarrett Chytka was among the group of people joined by Blue Light and Pan Pan, Kmart’s mascots.
“These people, about 30 or so, are all here on their own time to congratulate Jazzlyn,” Chytka said. “Everyone is excited. We even have Blue Light and Pan Pan here. This is special.”
Pasion-Saflor left Kaua‘i, Sunday, bound for Chicago, Illinois and “The Ultimate Cashier” competition held at the Kmart corporate offices and chaired by the head of Kmart.
Pasion-Saflor earned the honor after winning the state competition and advancing to the nationals after winning the regional competition in Ontario, California, besting more than 11,000 other Kmart cashiers.
“Until I worked for Kmart, I had never been to the Mainland,” Pasion-Saflor said in anticipation of her national competition. “But thanks to Kmart, I got to go to the Mainland and even Disneyland.”
Jim Wilson, Pasion-Saflor’s department manager, said the associate has been with Kmart for two years. Pasion-Saflor was pretty nervous, he said, calling at least four or five times a day before the national competition.
“I just told her not to be nervous,” said Wilson, whose wife was on the same plane that Pasion-Saflor was. “She was already the best in Hawai‘i and the region. If she ended up winning the national, it was just icing on the cake.”
Kaua‘i County Councilman Mel Rapozo heard about the young woman’s achievement and made the trip to the airport to congratulate her.
“To be the best of more than 100,000 Kmart cashiers in the nation doesn’t happen every day,” said Rapozo, presenting Pasion-Saflor a congratulatory lei. “This is an awesome achievement.”
Chytka said the results were supposed to be announced Tuesday, but the competition went on, so the results weren’t announced until Wednesday night when everyone was at a dinner on a boat.
“I’ve been getting a lot of congratulatory emails and phone calls,” Chytka said. “I don’t know if Hawai‘i has had a national winner, but this was the first year for this type of competition and to have a Hawai‘i, no, Kaua‘i, associate win it is indescribable.”
A $1,000 gift card from Kmart and a paid day off are among her winnings for being “The Ultimate Cashier,” Chytka said.
This joins her other cache of prizes which include a $200 gift card for winning the regionals and a $25 gift card for winning the state competition and does not include the contribution from Chytka and the Kmart Kaua‘i staff of the Disneyland tour while in California.