June 17, 2021
If you’ve ever seen a dad at one of those father-daughter dances, then you’ve probably seen him dressed in his Sunday’s best with eyes glowing with pride. There is nowhere else he’d rather be.
But this only gives us a small glimpse into the depth of a father’s love.
When we hear the stories of Broddrick (aka Tray) Ruffin and Jake Webb, two of our Sam’s Club dads, we get to see more than just a glimpse. You see, Tray and Jake both had babies born during the pandemic, giving them a unique experience and perspective on family and fatherhood.
For Tray, a Merchant for seasonal hardware, it all began with a call at the end of February 2020. He had been a Club Manager in Indianapolis, Indiana and was just offered a Club Manager position in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He and his wife had a son (now four) with a baby on the way. On March 2, only a couple days after his last day in Indiana, Nova Ruffin was born.
"It was a very interesting time—having a baby during that time frame," said Tray. "Covid had started but nobody really knew what was going on when March 2 came. So, I remember being in the hospital kind of like ‘Let’s hurry up and get out of here. Let’s hurry up and get out of here before they start shutting everything down…because we were also moving."
"Me having to move, having to find a house, and having a brand-new baby on top of Covid—it was definitely fun," Tray said—of course, with a hint of sarcasm.
But the experience made him have an even greater appreciation for not taking anything for granted because every day is precious and every moment is precious, and family is the most important thing. "Everything I’m doing is providing for them."
For Tray, being a father means being a role model and providing mentorship for his kids.
"It’s about guidance," he said. "I look at it like we have two beautiful kids. I love my kids to death, and it gives me an opportunity to really lead them down a path of success."
Jake’s story is somewhat different from Tray’s. Jake, a Club Manager from Club 8134, Fort Smith, Arkansas, also had a baby in 2020. However, it was his first child—a baby boy named Jensen, born on November 19.
"I never knew if I was ready or not to be a father and if I would be a good father, but as soon as he arrived, it’s like all that changed and I was 100% committed to him, his health, his safety, his overall wellbeing," Jake said reflecting on the moment Jensen was born and what being a father means to him.
"It gives you new purpose in your life—to take care of this little guy and be the best I can be for him. Supportive, nurturing, loving and just to give him the best chance possible."
The situation was slightly different for Jake when November came.
"You had to wear your mask the whole time. There’s only a limited amount of people allowed in a room. So, we weren’t allowed to have many of our family members. Spouse or partner only. Going into it, we were a little bummed about that because it’s the biggest day of your life...having a child, and you want your family there."
But now looking back, Jake wouldn’t change a thing. That intimate moment bringing Jensen into the world is priceless.
The experience has taught him to enjoy the moment.
"I really like the saying, The days are long but the months and years are short; and it rings so true to me. You’re almost wishing time away waiting for that next change in your infant or baby’s life. ‘Oh, I cannot wait until he sleeps through the night or I can’t wait until he’s talking…Then whenever you get to that point, you’re looking back and you’re like, ‘Was I really in the moment?’ So, I was actively thinking that every day and just trying to be in the moment and enjoy him in the stage that he’s currently in."
When we hear Tray and Jake’s stories, we get to see how the depth of their love not only empowers them to overcome life’s hurdles but also to use those hurdles to strengthen their family’s bond.
"It made my family stronger though," said Tray reflecting on the year Nova was born. "We grew stronger as a unit."
But while Tray and Jake’s experience is a little different than some, their father’s love isn’t. Just look around and you’ll see it, whether it’s at a father-daughter dance or during one of your grocery runs to your local Sam’s Club.
So, let’s take a moment to see it, feel it, and appreciate all the fathers and father figures out there, all around us. Happy Father’s Day!
Did you know Walmart and Sam’s Club dads are offered six full weeks of paternity leave? Check out more associate benefits here.