More than just convenience: Delgado strives to brighten every day |

More than just convenience: Delgado strives to brighten every day

Mario Delgado poses for a photo by the Kum & Go ampersand sign outside the east Kum & Go, which he manages.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

Mario Delgado has always felt his work was more than just another job.

But, after the east Kum & Go manager returned to work after a month in the hospital — 23 days on a ventilator — due to a bout with COVID-19 from which there was no certainty he’d recover, he learned just how much his passion impacted his community.

“You know, you have a heart, but this just makes it grow 10 times bigger,” Delgado said. “You see that you’re not alone. You have people out there that do care.”

When Delgado regained consciousness after more than three weeks in a Denver hospital, he discovered that the store had invited customers to show their support to the erstwhile and beloved store manager. And the support was overwhelming.

“My wife, she took up all the papers, everything people left here, and she cried reading it all,” Delgado said. “A whole stack of papers, people signing their names, saying get well. And I know this customer and that customer, and then there’s a lot who I don’t know their names but I know their faces. This community is awesome.”

His return to work was a hail of fist bumps and celebration from his customers and staff, Delgado said.

“It was non-stop, people coming through the line, ‘How are you doing?’” he said. “Just awesome. Prayers helped. Everything helped. My wife doesn’t do Facebook, but she put her name in just for this and just, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe how many people.’ So many friends commented, asking how I was doing. That helped her, knowing there was more support than just family. I can’t thank everybody enough for that.”

Delgado, a native of Craig, has worked in customer service since graduating high school, and has found a passion in the work. He also coached youth football while his kids were involved, and feels that opportunity enhanced his connection to his community.

But it’s perhaps his approach to his job that makes the biggest impact.

“Sometimes there are challenges, a guy who might never say hi, and that’s one I’m going to get to smile or joke around,” Delgado said. “You just, you don’t know what kind of day people are having, and we want to start them off right. Sometimes it doesn’t happen, but we try.”

Delgado, who lost his brother to COVID-19 recently, knows that life is precious and every interaction with another person is what makes it that way.

“Coming off COVID, it rang a bell in my head that life is short,” he said. “Try to help where you can. You can’t help everybody, but people need someone to talk to. (The support), it made me cry, just reading those little notes. I don’t know what words can explain that. I’m grateful, humble — it’s awesome.”

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