Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Storms and Heros

The recent blizzards and ice storms remind me of that crazy day in March 1993, when the city of Pittsburgh shut down. I was a store manager for Giant Eagle in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. We kept the store open as long as we could so that customers could stock up on necessities.

The snow continued to fall and all of a sudden we realized that the 24 employees, that were still working, were stranded.

We had no protocol for this emergency. Now I know what your are thinking…we would not starve…correct, but my team needed a place to sleep.

Not far away was a hotel, actually within walking distance, so we called to book some rooms.

SOLD OUT! ...due to the storm…wow, what to do.

I gathered my team and we brainstormed ideas for sleeping arrangements.

Shawn, a challenged employee with a very serious stutter, came up with the solution:

---We called the hotel to rent blankets, they had 30 available.
---We used full cases of paper towels for bedding.
---Men slept in the front common area of the store, the women slept in the backroom.
---The store manager, me, was assigned to make breakfast.

All went well…the store reopened at 2pm the next day.

So what is the morale of this story?

Shawn rarely spoke, he was challenged in doing so, but on that day, at that moment, he did speak.
Shawn became a hero that day and was never afraid to speak up again.

We all learn something new everyday, and sometimes from those we least expect.
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“Copyright (2-1 -2011) by Robert V Gambone Sr.”

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