I think we’ve all experienced a phone call like this. Your phone rings, you see that a friend is calling, you pick it up, and you realize very quickly that something absolutely horrible has happened.
This was my reality the evening of the Superbowl. I had just returned from a fun skiing weekend with my husband and friends in Winthrop, WA.
As many of you know, I work part-time at REI here in Bend, OR. I love both the company and my co-workers.
That phone call I received was about my department manager. He decided to take his own life on Saturday. I was stunned. I still am. All of my co-workers are.
The evening continued with more co-workers contacting me to make sure I knew what had happened.
The next day, other managers from our store contacted me to ask how I was doing, and to let me know that if I needed time off work, no problem, that would be paid time off.
I did go into work for a short while because I needed to be with my REI family. I walked in the door and was quite surprised to see employees in green vests I did not recognize. These kind people introduced themselves to me and said they were from several other REI’s around Oregon. They were here to help out our store during our time of need. They told me just to ask if I needed anything. I was floored. Anyone in our store didn’t have to work if they were too upset, others were here to take over for us.
Not only that, but in our break room, food was there. Food to help comfort us. And a sign up sheet for the grief counselor who was coming in to support us.
Wow! And these people will be here all week to help us through this process of loss and grief.
I was humbled by their kindness, care, and leadership.
Maybe other companies do this when a tragic, sudden loss happens. I don’t know.
What I do know, is that this is what real leadership and true caring look like. To drop everything and go to support others in their time of need. A company that is willing to do that should be an inspiration to others. A model to follow.
I know that my manager would have done the same if he had been called to go help others. That’s just the kind of guy he was.
With everything going on politically right now, we need examples of people caring for each other, because they want to, because they know it’s the right thing to do. REI has been that example this week.
They get it. They really, truly get it.
Feel free to leave a comment on the blog below, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Please share if you know just the perfect person who would love this.