Take an Elvis impersonator, add one congressman, a local mayor, three cheerleaders, a high school mascot a principal, a DJ and a columnist; mix in a dash of humor and a good cause. Throw liberally at unsuspecting shoppers.
That was exactly what happened at a San Ramon Safeway Monday afternoon as the store on Bollinger Canyon Road raised money to help the fight against prostate cancer.
Elvis impersonator Johnny Baron regaled shoppers and Dougherty Valley High School cheerleaders kicked up their heels -- literally -- while Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton), San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson, DVHS Principal Denise Hibbard, KKIQ morning show host Wayne Coy and a local columnist bagged groceries for shoppers.
Most of the shoppers were unaware their bags were being handled by the guest celebrities.
"Are you going to help me find a job?" college student, Kishmat Dhanoa asked upon being told that McNerney was her guest bagger.
"Absolutely," McNerney responded.
None of the baggers seemed to mind being upstaged by Baron, who tailored Elvis lyrics to fit the fundraiser, or the cheerleaders, with their custom-made chants for the event.
"Safeway's always been a leader in prostate cancer awareness," said McNerney over Baron's singing. "It's a good cause and it's fun to get out."
Despite the good-matured tone of the event, Wilson had a deeper message.
"My father passed of prostate cancer and it's important to make sure everyone's aware of this: it's curable if you catch it in time," he said.
And if the shoppers didn't know ahead of time, they were happy to chip in for the cause. Safeway raised more than awareness; the event brought in $300 between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., the hour the guest baggers were on duty.
The fundraising will continue until midnight Monday, June 21. Since 2001, when Safeway became involved in the fight, the company and its shoppers have raised more than $54 million for prostate cancer research and awareness.