Gatekeeper: Garage attendant Ed Wall gets to know his customers with a smile

Christina Stueve Dec. 8, 2011, 8:00am

Ed Wall at his post at the St. Clair County Courthouse parking garage.

Ed Wall always has a warm greeting for customers at the St. Clair County parking garage.

"How you doin' young man?" he said to a patron on his way out of the garage on Thursday.

While the customer paid his parking fee, the two discussed the surprise announcement that St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols had signed a 10-year, $254 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

When the transaction was complete, Wall said "OK, son, have a nice day."

He calls most male customers "young man."

"Even middle aged and elderly people like to be called young man," Wall said.

Wall, 84, of Belleville, has been working full time as a cashier for St. Clair County, for more than 12 years.

The garage is open to the public, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and is used by more than 200 courthouse employees, attorneys, police and courthouse patrons daily.

In cold weather, Wall, who works an early shift. keeps warm with a space heater next to his chair, but since he can't wear gloves, his hands become "a little cold every now and then," he explained.

Wall sees many customers daily and some two to three times a week.

Legendary attorney and former classmate of Wall's, Rex Carr, also exchanged pleasantries with Wall while exiting the garage on Thursday.

"You get to know a lot of people," Wall said. "Ninety-nine percent of them are really nice."

Public maintenance worker Harold Hollingsworth, who was seated next to Wall, chimed in, "We love to have him here."

"It doesn't take much brains to do what I do," Wall joked.

But, "Not everyone has an attitude like you," Hollingsworth told Wall.

"It's a lot easier to be nice than being ornery," Wall said with a smile.

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