Friday, December 11, 2009

Tis the Season for Giving

I've worked for the management team at my company for many, many years and with various companies. We've been through the good, the bad, and the buyouts together and I trust them enough to follow them wherever they may roam. One of the things about this team is that for the almost 20 years I've worked with them, we've always done Adopt-a-Family at Christmas. A woman here locally in town finds families in dire need and has various businesses willing to "adopt" them for Christmas.

At every company, the process is the same. Employees are divided up into teams randomly and given the description of the family and their needs and wants....usually there are more needs than wants...and more "wants" for the children expressed by the parents. It's a great way to get to know employees that you don't typically work alongside. In years past, I've had some pretty amazing stories. One year when Rick Pitino was still coach at the University of Kentucky, my team had a family consisting of a grandmother raising her grandson. No details on what happened to the parents, but little Anthony, when asked what his dream gift was, indicated "A Basketball..I'm a UK fan." That melted my heart that all he wanted was a basketball and most likely dreamed of being a Wildcat. At the time, my Dad was traveling a lot throughout the state and was in Lexington. He had heard my story and went to the athletic office to see if he could get some UK paraphenalia to include in the gift. When he recounted the story to the staff, they said, "Hang on one minute." They called down to the floor where Coach was practicing with the team and relayed the story..then asked my Dad the little boy's name. One of the assistants took off to the gym while another one gathered the annual basketball yearbook, stickers and other assorted "fan" fare for my Dad. When the assistant returned from the coach, my Dad had a glossy 8x10 picture of Rick Pitino, personally autographed to Anthony. Wow...what I would have given to see that boy's face when he opened that present.

This year, our family is a soldier who, while in Iraq, was seriously wounded. They have three girls and one baby on the way. The Mom asked for a crock pot. Being the ever practical shopper, I wanted to get her that, knowing with three children and being pregnant, she needs easy cooking options. Because I love online shopping, I quickly ordered one from Target to be shipped to work. In just a few days, it arrived. The very next day the same crock pot was delivered. I was baffled, so I went online to check my order and make sure I didn't err by ordering two...and I hadn't. Great. Now I have a crock pot that if I return, I'll get credited as if I received no crock pot. Or keep it and chalk it up to Target error. But, that too, didn't seem right. So, I decided to call customer service and plead my case. Let's see if Target has a charitable heart...

I spoke to a representative who I would surmise wasn't located in the continental United States since I could barely understand him. I explained my dilemma the best I could and told him about our charitable efforts to help families and asked if they would be willing to let me keep the extra crock pot for one of our other families. After checking and re-checking, the customer service rep said "Sure, that's fine." Yes, Viriginia, there is a Santa Claus...and he's dressed in a red polo shirt and khakis with a bullseye logo on his nametag.

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