A few weeks ago, while selling ripe bananas to a customer driving a high-end utility vehicle, Simone Hibbert was offered a job at a corporate entity. She refused the offer.
“I am a Christian, so I couldn’t take up the offer based on the type of business the company is involved in. Plus, I love my job and I enjoy meeting customers and interacting with people,” Hibbert confided.
A mother of two, Hibbert resides in the Arnett Gardens community. She has been selling ripe bananas for the past four years at the intersection of Cooreville Gardens and Duhaney Park.
In December, Hibbert was named Most Consistent Vendor at an awards function hosted by Jamaica Producers (JP) St Mary’s. The event recognised ripe banana vendors across the corporate area who sell produce from the company.
“The year started out bad for me but eventually everything worked out towards the end of the year. Winning this award is significant for me and it has motivated me to continue doing this job,” Hibbert said.
Jeffrey Hall, group CEO of the JP Group explained the objective of rewarding the vendors, whom his company has provided entrepreneurial opportunities and to become financially independent through the vendor programme.
“We wanted to recognise them for what they’ve done for our business and what they do for consumers. It’s really about respect and love,” said Hall.
Hibbert explained what she enjoyed most about her job.
“I get to meet different people. I like giving good customer service and for me, its about doing my job and go home to my children,” she said.
She started selling bananas after she lost her job and the bills were piling up.
“My mother had six of us and I am the first one to have graduated from high school, and then moved on to college. I have done all that I have ever wanted to do,” she said.
Hibbert has a degree in Food and Nutrition from the University of Technology.