Some folks get a gold watch on the day they retire. Others get a handshake and a nudge out the door. Very few people actually give more than they get on the last working day of their lives — and almost nobody has given as much as Howard Cooper.
When Cooper, 83, retired from the auto dealership he owned in Ann Arbor, Mich., he had a special present for each of his 89 employees: a check for $1,000 for every year each employee worked for him according to AnnArbor.com.
So, for a worker like Bob Jenkins, a mechanic who had worked for Cooper’s dealership for 26 years, these checks were life changing. “I was shocked,” Jenkins told AnnArbor.com. “You just don’t expect something like that.”
Cooper told the site that he wanted to thank his employees for giving him the success he has had and the checks were simply a way he could do that. Cooper had already turned down more cash from other offers, but went with Germain after negotiating a guarantee that his entire staff could stay on after he left.
Once Cooper, who started the dealership in 1965, began thinking about his retirement, he brought 46-year employee and controller Sandy Reagan in on the surprise handouts and had her print the checks a few days in advance.
The two kept the secret until the grand reveal that left employees in total shock and earned Cooper a standing ovation.
“The lady behind me had tears running down her face,” Reagan told AnnArbor.com.