GREETING ONE MILLION WITH MORE THAN A SMILE
Just before his 30th birthday Bryant Graeber passed another significant milestone in his life – he greeted his one millionth Y guest. A fixture at the entrance of the Harris branch for more than 10 years, Bryant is known for his infectious smile and encouraging words as he welcomes members and guests at one of the country's busiest Ys.
“The best part of my job is helping people feel good when they walk in and when they walk out,” says Bryant. “Because that's something my mom and dad taught me. They always told me to treat people how I'd like to be treated.”
Born with a rare genetic disorder called MPS 1 that prevents his body from properly breaking down sugar, Bryant doesn't let the disease or his weekly enzyme therapy slow him down. Since graduating from Myers Park High School in 2003, Bryant has greeted members at the Harris YMCA with more than just a warm hello.
“Bryant is my sunshine. His light, his warmth and his unconditional love are so encouraging,” says Y member Kristel White. “No matter what kind of day you're having, when you see Bryant, you can't help but smile. He just brightens your day.”
On a brisk day in January, Bryant's friends and family surprised him with a celebration of his one millionth welcome. He was also recognized by the declaration of “Bryant Graeber Day” from the Charlotte Mayor's Office.
“Bryant is the true face of the Harris YMCA,” says Rick Dunlap, Harris YMCA staff member. “He's remarkable. He has a true servant heart and just loves interacting with people. His job at the YMCA allows him to do that every day he's here.”
“It makes me feel blessed in so many ways,” affirms Bryant, “that I've been able to do what I love for 11 years.”