VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. — The hard work of the 55 employees at the Vineyard Haven Stop and Shop hasn’t gone unnoticed during the coronavirus pandemic. An anonymous customer gave each of them a $100 bill on Christmas Eve.
Michael Johnson, the store manager, told Boston 25 News the customer called him last Wednesday and asked to give each employee at the store a letter thanking them for their hard work during the pandemic. The customer told Johnson he wanted to remain anonymous and asked how many people worked at the store.
They met outside the store the next day and the man handed Johnson a large envelope and wished him a Merry Christmas. Johnson said he didn’t recognize the man because he was bundled up.
Johnson called the store’s two union stewards up to his office and together they opened the envelope and read the letter.
You have braved Covid to keep stores clean and safe, and shelves stocked to meet our needs. Our family residents year-round in Tisbury, and we could not live here without the tireless and courageous efforts of essential services workers like you.
We witness you working so hard and doing all that must be done to make available that which sustains life in our community.
We’ve been blessed by your labors of love and giving spirits, the gleans in your eyes, and your supportive, positive, and helpful words.
We are SO grateful for all that you have done and continue to do, and for how you show up in our community in ways large and small. We are inspired by your example. Thank you so much.
We wish you and yours all the best during this holiday season, as well as a happy and healthy 2021!
They discovered in addition to the letter, the customer left 55 $100 bills, one for each employee.
Johnson called the employees up to his office one or two at a time to read the letter and collect their gift.
“Their reactions were amazing,” Johnson said. “The letter alone brought some people to tears. It was just very heartfelt.”
“Even though there were tears, it was all joy and I think a lot of people need that right now,” he added.
Johnson said all of the workers were moved by the gesture and wanted to thank the customer.
“I said the best way to thank him is to just continue doing what we’re doing – have a clean store and provide good customer service,” Johnson recalled. “That’s why he thanked you guys.”
Johnson said he grateful the customer chose to recognize his employees for how hard they’ve worked to keep the open, clean and well-stocked. He said he couldn’t think of a more deserving bunch of people to receive this token of appreciation.
“All the supermarkets throughout the whole country – we’re essential, so we have to come to work every day and my employees have done so with a positive attitude,” Johnson said. “I’m grateful to be the store manager here and have the staff that I do.”
Johnson said this was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
“There is a Santa Claus,” he said.
The Vineyard Gazette reports the anonymous customer also gave a thank you letter and $100 bill to each of the employees at Cronig’s Market, another supermarket in Vineyard Haven.
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