“Turkey Buck Joe” brings smiles, raises money for charity

“Turkey Buck Joe” brings smiles, raises money for charity

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Going through a grocery line, especially on busy days like Thanksgiving, isn’t always fun, but one local Tucson man makes sure every person who goes through his lane, smiles.

Head to the Safeway on Ina and Oracle and it’s hard to miss Joe Encinas.

Thursday, he wore a felt turkey costume, complete with a beak and tail to work. His nametag read: “Turkey Buck Joe”. Checking out lane number four is nothing short of fun.

“I do this to pick people’s spirits up. Sometimes, when they feel down, after they get done coming through my line, they feel so much happier,” said Encinas. “There’s a lot of customers that come back because they know I’m here dressed up on the holidays.”

It’s not just Thanksgiving, Encinas dresses up for just about every holiday you can imagine—even a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s day, or the Grinch on Christmas and hands out gifts. He has the “holiday spirit.”

“Joe’s great. He’s been here for many, many years. We love him,” said John Leader, who shops at the Safeway. “It’s nice to have a little bit of humor with everything else that’s going on.”

“When the holidays come around, Joe’s all in,” said David Vangelder, who regularly shops at the Safeway.

For 15 years, Encinas has been dressing up for every holiday in hopes it brings a little smile to someone. During Thanksgiving, he brings in hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars for the food bank. He calls out on the intercom and does a loud gobble every time he gets a donation. On his costume, he has a print out that reads, “Donate for family in need & hear me gobble like a turkey!!!”

“I’m number one in the district,” Encinas said of his charitable earnings.

Encinas said he grew up on a ranch and learned different animal sounds from there. He can also imitate pigs, goats, horses and roosters.

He said he always keeps a positive attitude to spread around and has some words of wisdom for the community.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow, because if you worry, you only make it worse,” he said.

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