She’s what many might call a regular ole girl, one who happens to drive a forklift.
Needing to support her family, Kim Ashby was drawn to the Ford Motor Company, but what began as a way to provide for her family has blossomed into so much more. It’s obvious when listening to Kim talk about Ford that her employer of the last 25+ years has been a positive influence, providing opportunities she otherwise might not have had.
Early on, Kim was encouraged by her supervisors and fellow workmates to get involved. She began by joining the Women’s Committee, one of 10 such groups sanctioned by the United Auto Workers. At an early meeting, one of Kim’s co-workers put her name in a bucket to be the spokesperson, telling Kim she saw something in her and thought others would, too. Kim was terrified, but she agreed and grew tremendously as a leader and speaker.
“If it wasn’t for Ford, I would have stayed shy,” she said.
As Kim grew in leadership, so did her love for Ford and the people there. She began to ask God, “Lord, what difference am I making here?”
Kim had always gone to church, beginning as a little girl when her granny—the most stable adult in her young life—would take her. Raised in a broken home, Kim split time between her dad, mom, and other family members. The only consistent love she had was that of the Lord. Kim knew early on that she was His and, in return, would serve Him the rest of her life.
Kim’s deep love for God was now colliding with her care and appreciation for all things Ford. The Lord began to answer her question with sweet reminders of how she was faithfully and obediently loving those in her workplace.
The Lord reminded Kim of the man who rushed to her on the factory line, begging her to pray for his wife who was in a Charlottesville, Virginia church for Bible study as reports of a shooter made their way to him. He reminded her of a co-worker who often told inappropriate jokes about women and others and how she walked out of a meeting to take a stand. That co-worker was asked to apologize. Kim accepted his apology, and he began to treat her and others better.
The Lord also reminded Kim of the Bible study she began at United Auto Workers Local 862 that has grown from 12 women to more than 50. This past June—working with James Seay, the Chaplaincy Chair at the Louisville Assembly Plant—Kim served on the Chaplaincy Committee that helped coordinate a week-long tent revival at the UAW. This regular ole girl played a key role in the first tent revival on UAW property, an accomplishment for which she is particularly thankful to the Lord. Knowing other UAW chapters watch and learn from UAW Local 862—the largest in the nation—Kim is excited to see how the tent revival will be used for God’s glory not just here, but elsewhere.
Just as Kim’s thanksgiving for all the Lord has done in her life has spurred her to service, she encourages other followers of Jesus who also want to make a difference in their workplaces by offering three simple tips:
Get to work early. Kim arrives 30 minutes before her shift begins each day so she can sit in her car, do a devotion, and pray for her workplace and co-workers.
Treat EVERYONE the way you want to be treated. Kim believes everyone has a story and is carrying something heavy and that just being kind goes a long way.
Share a smile. Kim knows that life is hard, and people can be harder. She makes a point to smile at each person she encounters during her workday. She explains that the very act of smiling makes you feel differently about the place where you work and the people there.
Kim remembers how, as a little girl, she would listen at the door as her Aunt Virginia, with only a roll of toilet paper to wipe her tears, would go into her prayer closet. Her aunt taught her so much about the Lord, prayer, and loving and caring for people in a deep and meaningful way.
The seeds her aunt planted, paired with her granny’s faithfulness in taking her to church, set Kim on a path to knowing Jesus intimately. This regular ole girl driving a forklift has allowed the One who changed everything for her to impact her workplace in a powerful way.