The days of noble men and women, people with honor, ethics and empathy aren’t over just yet, as proved recently in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In an act that restored faith in humanity to a lot of people, Howard Cooper, 83, recently sold his car dealership, and as a way of thanking his employees, he gave each of them $1,000 for every year they worked for him. Howard sold the Howard Cooper Import dealership to Ohio-based Germain Motor Co., with Cooper maintaining an office at the dealership “until he’s ready to move on.” Cooper insisted that employee retention was part of the deal, but he still wanted to do something to thank his employees for his rewarding forty seven year career. “My employees are very important to me and the reason for my success,” Cooper told AnnArbor.com in April. “I know of a couple of buyers who would have paid more, but taking care of my employees was important to me.”
Recently, on Wednesday morning, all eighty nine employees were gifted with $1,000 for each year of service to the dealership. Bob Jenkins, a mechanic who has worked at the dealership for twenty six years, received his $26,000. “I was shocked,” Jenkins told AnnArbor.com. “You just don’t expect something like that.” Sandy Reagan, a bookkeeper at the dealership for forty six years, said, “The lady behind me had tears running down her face. I sat next to a person who drives the parts van and he’s been here almost twenty eight years. He doesn’t make a ton of money, but he got almost $28,000. I watched his face and he just said, ‘Oh, my God’.”
The dealership’s General Manager, George Davis, told Michigan Radio that while the amount of money surprised employees, the act of generosity didn’t. Davis said, “There’s just not a lot of people like Howard, so not all are going to think this way. I think in one of the papers I read about how the CEOs walk away with a big bonus and a golden parachute and the troops get nothing. Howard never acted that way when he owned the business, and surely didn’t act that way when he sold the business.” “I wanted to thank my employees and that was a way I could do it,” Cooper said of the surprise cheques that were met with a standing ovation. “I hope it makes a difference in their lives, like they have made in mine.”