Not everyone can work at a job they love or feel fulfilled by.
Sure, that’s the dream, but in reality, many people need to grind it out for a paycheck to support themselves and their families.
That was the situation one Wild Wing employee found herself in when franchise owner Rick Smiciklas walked in undercover.
A Crappy Day at Work
In a two-part Undercover Boss video shared by Dabl, a woman named Sabrina is showing a man the ropes at a Wild Wing restaurant. As she shares the confusing deals, which go against the franchise policy, and trains him on serving customers Tallboy beer cans (also against company policy), the man grows increasingly irritated.
But it’s when he hears how the franchise owner treats Sabrina that the undercover owner really gets upset.
“We have our good days, we have our bad days,” Sabrina says. “I mean, there’ve been times we fought. I’ve had him scream and yell at me, tell me he could find someone better. I walked out in the middle of a shift to realize I can’t walk out because what am I going to do for my children. It is what it is. I have to do it, I have no choice.”
She goes on to explain how she was filing for bankruptcy that day and had lost her vehicle. “There’s other transportation. There’s buses,” she shrugs.
At that point, the man takes a break in order to calm down. “She’s a great person and for her to be subjected to this, it’s not fair to her,” he tells the cameras. “She’s nice, and the owner’s not nice. That’s the first thing I’m going to deal with. You’d better treat your employees right. I’m going to stay calm.”
But when he returns, things grow worse.
Losing His Cool
After the break, the man can sense the energy in the restaurant has completely changed. In the back, Sabrina and the owner are fighting again. When she emerges from the backroom, she’s fighting tears.
“I’m furious, actually. I get yelled at for everything that happens around here,” she explains. “I’m ticked right now, I can’t even talk. There’s no other job out there that gives me the hours I have to be with my children, that’s why I stick with it and take it.”
When the man tries to tell her she shouldn’t have to put up with abuse and if she were his daughter, he’d have something to say, she shrugs. “I don’t have a dad like you, I don’t have anybody,” she says.
At that point, the man asks Sabrina to get the owner. He comes out, and the man asks the owner if he knows who he is.
“Yes, Mr. Rick!” he says before Rick demands that the owner apologizes to Sabrina. When he tries to explain himself instead, Rick loses it.
“You know what? I don’t want to hear it. I want a proper apology. You go up there, and you apologize,” he yells. “You can’t treat people like this when they’re crying at work.”
Making Things Right
In the video, Rick explains there were a bunch of factors working against the franchise owner. “I wasn’t too happy, I wasn’t too impressed with the guy. I knew he was on borrowed time coming in, and this was just the final nail in the coffin,” he said.
He rips down the franchise posters and promises the owner they’re done. Then he pays for the meals of the gaping customers and takes some money out for Sabrina.
“This is one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen, and I apologize on behalf of myself and our company; it’s not the way it should be,” he tells her, giving her the week off to get her energy back. He says that when she returns, she can work for him, and he will triple her salary.
“I don’t even know what to think right now. It was nice to have someone stick up for me, it’s been a long time coming for this to happen,” a flabbergasted Sabrina tells cameras.
Later, Rick (without the disguise) sits down with Sabrina and makes good on his promise.
“I just really want you to be okay, and I’m going to do the best to help you out in any way I can,” he says. “I understand there’s a problem with the transportation and the car, I would like to help out with the car. I think you’re going to be looking back on this day a few years down the road and be in a better place,” he wraps.
Valuing Your Employees
Not everyone is lucky enough to have someone stand up for them the way Rick was able to stand up for Sabrina in this particular situation.
But this story does serve as a good reminder that it’s always important to treat others with respect, especially people who work for you.
After all, employees are the backbone of any company worth their salt. Treating them properly and with respect is the least any manager or owner can do. But it’s equally important to treat all workers with respect and kindness. That includes customer service people, servers, custodial staff, and anyone else you may come across in your daily path.
After all, when people know that you care about them, they’re more likely to care about you and your company or your needs too.
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