This Man Had ‘Great Pride’ in the Blue-Collar Job He Was Doing

There is 'dignity' in all kinds of work, as Geoffrey Owens proved — outpouring of attention from others continues for actor

Image Credit: ABC

Social media went into overdrive after photos of 57-year-old Geoffrey Owens working as a cashier at a Trader Joe’s in Clifton, New Jersey, surfaced in the U.K.’s Daily Mail last week.

“People tried to shame him [over working a blue-collar job], and he took it like a man. And he had great pride in the job he was doing,” said Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo Wednesday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

“The dignity of work,” he added about Owens’ statement to Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” about every job being worthwhile and valuable.

Host Laura Ingraham agreed, sharing a personal anecdote about her own mother, who waited tables until she was 74 years old.

“No honest job should be demeaned. This is a cruelty of social media,” said Arroyo about the job-shaming the actor endured after release of the photos.

“I loved how he put it right back in their faces and said, ‘Hey, it’s a job. There’s dignity in every job,’” said Ingraham.

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Karma Lawrence, who was grocery shopping at the time, took photos of Owens when she noticed the actor working at the store, according to the Daily Mail. After all the ensuing hubbub, Owens was forced to quit his job at Trader Joe’s, as People reported.

Lawrence now said she regrets taking the pictures and that she acted on a “bad impulse,” according to NJ.com. She said she was not paid for the photos and that her intention was not malicious.

The woman has since disabled her social media accounts; she said she now “can’t get over” unintentionally hurting a man she loved as a kid, an actor who played her favorite character on “The Cosby Show,” the outlet continued.

Owens is perhaps best-known for his portrayal of Elvin Tibideaux on “The Cosby Show” between 1985 and 1992, the husband of character Sondra Huxtable, the fictional family’s oldest daughter.

After the release of the story in various publications, the public shared its enormous support for Owens.

Related: ‘Job-Shamed’ Actor Focuses on the Honor and Dignity of Work

Scads of online postings from celebrities and others praised him for earning a living; people shared their own stories of jobs they had worked that might not have been their first choice — but which paid the bills.

One Twitter user shared a touching story in which he hailed Owens as a hero who stands tall anywhere.

He reported that Owens and his wife had bought bags of groceries for him over 20 years ago when the couple didn’t know him well — but they did know he didn’t have enough to eat.

Owens appeared on “Good Morning America” Tuesday and told host Robin Roberts about the Trader Joe’s situation, noting his gratitude for all the support he received.

And things just kept getting better. Director, producer, and actor Tyler Perry then tweeted this encouraging offer.

Though Owens did leave his job at Trader Joe’s, he is not without options.

Trader Joe’s, where he had been working for the past 15 months, said it would be happy to have him back, per NJ.com.

In addition, Owens offers Shakespearean acting workshops for fellow thespians.

Watch this video below:

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.

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