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Tales To Warm Your Heart: Awesome Managers And Company Band Together For Bereaved Cashier

 

AWESOMECAROLANNEFrom Goober

In 30+ years of retail, I've had my share of bad experiences. I've been overworked, poorly paid, laid off because my next paycheck would bounce anyway, fired for taking lunch (the day after being chewed out for not taking lunch), nearly run down by a dump truck full of wet sand, earthquakes, nearly drowned by leaking roofs, and something very close a real fire. Hell, I was even been robbed at gunpoint once. But the worst day I've ever had at work was many years ago, and it was far worse for one of my cashiers than it was for me.

We had a cashier, an older woman, and one of our best. Her husband was an armored car guard for Brinks. She got a call one day, a little before noon, that her husband had been shot in a robbery. The first call, they didn't know what hospital he was being taken to, so while we're waiting, I had some decisions to make.

I'm the only manager on duty, which is to say, the only one with keys and alarm codes, and I can't leave the store open without a manager there. But she's in no condition to drive, and there really wasn't anybody else there that I trusted with a crisis like that. The closing manager wasn't scheduled to show for a half hour. So I was actually getting everybody ready to clear the store so I could close it when the second call came, but the closing manager showed up early. (Note: When I mentioned that plan to the #2 guy in the company later on, he said "Well, of course, what else could you do?" I work for some pretty awesome people.) So the closing manager got a 30 second heads up, and we were on the road like a bat out of hell for a hospital about 20 miles away.

Now, all that is tragic, but not, sadly, especially noteworthy. What made it noteworthy was what happened at the hospital, for whom I have nothing but the highest praise.

First (we didn't find this out until later), the ambulance driver deliberately lied to the press about what hospital they were taking him to (this was the big news of the day, an armored car robbery at a grocery store). This gave them about half an hour before the weasels showed up. The hospital had someone waiting at every single entrance to the building to get her out of the public areas and into a place they could keep the press away. They'd danced this dance before, and hated the press with great passion.

Awesome service shoutoutsBy the time we got there, the surgeons had determined that he was already dead, but his body hadn't realized it yet. Now, technically, once they make that determination, the operating room is part of the crime scene, and it's a felony for them to disturb it. But he's technically still breathing, and his wife wants to spend some time with him before he stops. And they're not going to let her into an operating room with blood on the walls up to their waist, so they cleaned him up and moved him to a recovery bed so she could be with him, and the law be damned. (So far as I know, there were no consequences to that decision for the doctors or hospital, other than a good, or at least better that it might have been, night's sleep.)

By then, the press had showed up, feeding on any lurid detail they could get like the vampires they are, but they were stuck in a waiting room, with no access to her.

Then the real performance art began: the Brinks guys arrived. There were three of them: the husband's immediate boss, who didn't have to be there, but felt obligated anyway. The guy in charge of whatever office they worked out of, who did have to be there, and would, I think, rather have been anywhere else (I know I would). And a guy from the corporate office whose title was, I am certain, Vice President In Charge Of Bullshitting The Press. I have never seen *anyone* who was smoother at talking and talking and talking, and saying absolutely *nothing*.

Under other circumstances, it would have been a real joy to watch. At that point, I felt comfortable leaving our valued employee in their very capable hands.

The day of the funeral, some people from corporate came to run the store, so everyone who worked with her could go if they wanted. She had more coworkers there than the deceased. And that's why I'm still working here, over 20 years later.

--Goober

 

Comments

TechTyger

A serious shame that this is something worth reading about, something unusual. (Not the robbery, of course. The companies' involved reactions to it.)

Glad she had people with her...

Kai Lowell

Now that is one badass company. Faith in humanity risen quite a bit. :)

Flutilicious

Now that's a good place to work.

I worked at a drug store about 16 years ago. One of the department heads got a phone call at work saying her future son in law was hit by a train and killed (short story, he was walking on the track wearing headphones and didn't know it was coming behind him). She screamed and collapsed on the floor. We closed the camera counter registers, sent everybody to the main checkouts and dealt with P. People complained but the store manager basically told them there was an emergency and they needed to go to the main checkouts. He let one of the other employees drive her home then coordinated a fund raiser to help pay for the funeral (he had no family that cared so my coworker was basically his only 'family'). I'd probably still be working there except I had to quit when I got divorced and moved out of the area.

plus.google.com/108073606865059711666

I would like to add that she was well taken care of financially by Brinks. She never actually came back to work, but retirement was due anyway. Brinks also controlled the press access to her after the immediate crisis was over. There was one interview, with a local rag, and it was the most tasteful interview of a grieving window I've ever seen. I don't think they even mentioned that her husband was 20 years younger than she was, despite how lurid such a detail could be made. I have high regards for them as a company, too.

Lightning

I agree a bit with TechTyger. A good chunk of this is just a kindness and common sense you show to someone having such a time. But there is also a part of this that goes an extra mile, which is nice to hear.

Uh, Flutilicious, that... uh... kind of sounds like Darwin Award? (Not the headphones part; the walking on tracks part... reminds me of Fried Green Tomatoes, with Buddy Jr getting his arm cut off when he tripped while playing on the railroad tracks. I know, it's the '30s and they didn't have all that many places to play at, but something about RAILROAD TRACKS should tell you that there's a huge risk involved...)

Flutilicious

Yeah, she had no idea why he was even walking on the tracks to begin with. Apparently he got off work and his car wouldn't start so he decided to walk home on the tracks instead of calling for a ride.

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