We are experiencing unusual times and tough times, for many reasons and no particular reason. But often this is when we see acts of kindness, compassion, and resource from expected and unexpected sources. This week’s Feel-Good Friday highlights this.
Pete Judge worked at Winco Foods in Phoenix as a cashier, and was quite popular with the customers. Judge is an old school worker: he rang up the customer with efficiency, but also found a way to engage them and make them feel seen.
“I’m a people person. People would wait in my line for me, even if it was really long, because I was the one they wanted to come through.”
Despite his years of experience and top-notch customer connections, Winco Foods let Judge go. Judge took public transportation and walked to work, and it sometimes caused him to be late. Winco Foods works on a points system, where infractions like being late rack up the points on your record. Judge had racked up too many points which triggered his firing.
The first person he told was his son Patrick McCarthy, who lived in Seattle. McCarthy works in marketing and had experienced layoffs himself. His father did not have a LinkedIn account, so McCarthy decided to reach out to his network of 500-plus connections and 2,564 followers to ask for their help.
This is Pete. He’s my dad.
My dad lost his job yesterday. I would tag him here, but he doesn’t have a LinkedIn.
My dad and I have starkly different professional journeys.
He was a cashier at Winco. He loved his job. He loved his customers. Thousands of faces passed through his lane, and he had so many stories about those faces.
I got off a two-hour-long phone call with him this morning and he shared what he loved about his work, and what he has loved about his work throughout his life.
And it was exactly what I knew about him, but something that he has never put into words.
He’s been in the service industry for most of his professional career. Walgreens, Fry’s, Winco.
He loves his customers. He loves being the reason people come back. He loves seeing customers seek out his lane for check-ins and updates. He said to me, “I’m good at this stuff.”
He and I share our empathy. Our listening ears. Our understanding. I can tell he’s my dad.
Most of his professional stints have lasted 10+ years. As anyone would be, he’s shocked. Overwhelmed. Scared. Emotional.
No doubt. After the 2008 financial fallout, I started a group called “Tuesdays with Transitioners,” for people like Judge who had lost a job and were at a loss on how to navigate the new job market. Like Judge’s son, I was young and savvy, understanding how LinkedIn and the new world of digital employment worked. So, what a gift that Judge had his son to cut through that confusion and promote his dad’s expertise to lift him above the noise.
His network is not like mine. He doesn’t even really know how to make his next move. But I know whoever is reading this and this LinkedIn community can make magic happen.
For anyone in the Phoenix area or those looking for remote employees with a LOT of customer-facing, customer service, and service industry experience, DM me or leave a comment and I can put you in touch with my dad.
I’m excited for his next step. This guy is someone you want on your team.
McCarthy’s post on behalf of his dad went viral, with 19,338 impressions, 834 comments, and 612 reposts. Some comments were encouragement and tips, but many were job offers. Even international grocer chains were reaching out to inquire about Judge’s availability.
The two spoke with USA Today about the overwhelming response:
McCarthy, a husband and father of 3-year-old and 9-month-old sons, can relate to losing his job: The marketing and communications professional was laid off last month from online course provider Coursera.
He says he’s also aware of “the power of LinkedIn” when it comes to rallying around others navigating “this very weird time of layoffs” at several companies.
But McCarthy said he and his family have never been on the receiving end of such an outpouring of support until now.
“It’s a shock,” said McCarthy, 31.
McCarthy took it another step and helped his father get set up with LinkedIn, so that Judge could personally explore new worlds of employment and field fresh job offers. Judge’s first note was to thank everyone who responded to his son’s post for their support.
I would like to thank all of you for the overwhelming support, suggestions and offers. My son Patrick is guiding me on this journey. I’m still learning the ropes of Linkedin, so bear with me. Don’t forget: I am still #opentowork.
What a beautiful expression by McCarthy, of not only love and support for his father, but a confidence in Judge’s wealth of abilities—so much so that McCarthy promoted his father to his business networks. But McCarthy’s greatest gift was his belief that his father still had much to give to the world. Whatever we may be facing, we all need belief, encouragement, and sometimes assistance to get to the next stage in this life. What a blessing that Pete Judge had a forward thinking son who was able to be that for him.
Who is in your sphere or concern who could use a hand up?
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