Just another late August day at the Hopkins, MN Dairy Queen turned into an opportunity for one man to do the right thing. Manager Joey Prusak was working the cash register and taking orders when a moral dilemma presented itself.
He was helping a blind man at the counter when his customer dropped a $20 bill as he was paying. Prusak saw the woman behind his customer stoop down and scoop the bill up. He says he thought she was going to return it to the blind customer but what she did next made Prusak angry:
“I expected to her to be like ‘Oh, sir, here you go.’ But she just stood there and watched him walk by and she then put it in her purse.”
When the woman approached the counter, Prusak asked the her to return the money. She refused, lied and said it was hers, that she had dropped it. They had words. Exasperated, Prusak told the woman to either return the money or leave the store because he was not going to serve someone so disrespectful. She stormed out.
Prusak proceeded to serve his other customers, apologizing for the fracas. When he was done, he found the blind customer and gave him $20 out of his own pocket. He tried to be unobtrusive but another customer had seen the whole thing. She filled out a comment card, praising Joey and writing that she would forever be a Dairy Queen customer. The note made it to corporate headquarters and was shared among employees. One of them took a picture and posted it on Facebook. The rest, as they say, is history.
Prusak is modest about his actions, even after getting a phone call from company owner Warren Buffet:
“He called and thanked me for being a role model for all the other employees and people in general. I was just doing what I thought was right. I did it without even really thinking about it. … Ninety-nine out of 100 people would’ve done the same thing as me.” (source)
The spokesman for Dairy Queen International, Dean Peters, told reporters that the company is trying to figure out a way to reward Prusak. I have a suggestion: since Prusak is trying to save money to attend business management school, maybe Buffet could find him a job at the corporate level while the young man is attending school. What better way to learn business management than from Buffet? No matter what the reward from DQ is, Joe Prusak will always have the reward of knowing that he did the right thing. We need more like him.