September 18, 2012
Every now and then, a dramatic story of personal service and sacrifice comes along to restore one’s faith in humanity. This past weekend, one such story unfolded at my local Red Robin Gourmet Burgers restaurant.
On Saturday, a family of four dined at Red Robin before heading to a nearby Verizon Wireless Store where the youngest boy, an 8th grader, planned to preorder an iPhone 5 with money he had saved for the occasion. After waiting in line and finally making his way to the register to reserve a phone, the boy realized that his wallet containing his savings of $320 was missing.
Frantic, his mother phoned Red Robin to see whether or not anyone had turned in a wallet. A Red Robin team member named Parker searched throughout the section of the restaurant where the family had been seated and located the wallet. But, to the family’s dismay, all of the cash had been removed.
The family returned to the restaurant to pick up the empty wallet and Parker met the young boy whose savings had been stolen. With tears in his eyes, he recounted to Parker his sense of helplessness at the Verizon store when he realized he had lost his wallet. Before leaving the restaurant, the boy’s parents gave Parker their home telephone number on the off-chance that someone turned in the money.
Later that night, Parker shared this story with his parents and said that he would like to rally other team members to see if they could raise money to offset some of the boy’s loss. Parker’s father reached into his wallet, removed a bill, and said, “Here’s $20 to start your fund.”
The next day at work, Parker shared the story with coworkers and, over the course of the day, collected donations. That afternoon, after consulting his manager, Parker phoned the boy’s home, spoke with his mother, and invited the entire family back to Red Robin that evening as his guests for dinner. When they arrived that evening, Parker and his coworkers presented the boy with a card of encouragement signed by the staff and $320—the exact amount missing from his wallet.
Red Robin encourages its team members to perform Unbridled Acts® of service which is defined on its website as “random acts of kindness (team members) bestow upon restaurant Guests and other Team Members.”
Clearly, Parker demonstrated that this is much more than a corporation’s empty customer service platitude. It is a way of doing business and a true testament to Red Robin’s amazing service culture and the care expressed for its guests.