By Bill Scott
I have retold this true story a thousand times over the years, but maybe you haven’t heard it and will find it amusing.
Back in the 80s, one morning at around 3am, while I was installing a computer in a customer’s office, (the company’s controller by my side), a call came through the switchboard from a convenience store across the parking lot, and you could hear hysterical laughter on the other end of the line. In fact, the laughter was so loud we couldn’t make out what the night manager was saying. Since it was only 100 yards or so over to the store from where we were working, we rushed out of the office and ran across the parking lot to determine the reason for all the commotion.
It was one of those days common in this part of the country, where the early spring temperature had been around 70 degrees in the daytime, and dipped into the 40s overnight. Anyway, that explains the reason a brand new employee showed up for her first shift (8pm-3am) in a sleeveless dress, short skirt, summer shoes and no pantyhose.
When she arrived to be indoctrinated into her new career, It was a busy Friday night, so the night manager told her to help the other cashiers and observe, but due to the incidences of drive-offs that had been occurring lately, stressed the importance of keeping one eye on the pumps at all times, lest someone would fill up and attempt to drive off without paying. (That alone should tell you how old this story is).
Several hours later, the night manager remembers thinking the new employee had gotten bored with her new job and quit (which happens in this business occasionally), and didn’t think too much of it. But when a customer came in at around 12 midnight, and inquired as to why ‘that girl’ was being punished, the night manager rushed out to find the half-frozen new hire with her arms wrapped around herself shivering in the 40-degree temperature.
Stopping in the middle of her sale, the manager rushed her inside, wrapped her in blankets, began to warm her up, and asked what she had been doing outside for the past 4 hours. Through her shivering stutter, the courageous new employee whimpered, “Watching the pumps!”
Unfortunately, this young girl was so embarrassed by the incident, she left and never came back. I have often wondered what happened to her after that incident. I would have loved to have had her as an employee.
You can’t buy loyalty like that. I wrote about employees like her in one of my books a long time ago. I called them “The Ol’ Warhorse”–the employee that will take your abuse, solve your problems, cover your butt, make your coffee, and remember your spouse’s birthday even when you don’t. If you so lucky to find that kind of loyalty in an employee, you‘re a damned fool if let them get away.