All through the holidays Tyree couldn’t stop thinking about the kindness and effort of the saleslady, and how much joy she had brought to him, and in turn to Sally. Tyree thought the least he could do was to write a letter to the store and let them know about it.
About a week later, Tyree got a reply from the store, thanking him for writing. It was until mid January when he got a call from Stephanie, the sales associate. She wanted to take him to lunch. When they met, Stephanie gave Tyree a hug and a present, and told him this story.
Stephanie had walked into a recent employee meeting to find herself on the list of nominees to be named the Nordstrom All-Star. She was confused but excited, as she had never before been nominated. At the point in the meeting when the winner was announced, they called Stephanie – she’d won! When she went up front to accept the award, her manager read Tyree’s letter out loud. Everyone gave her a huge round of applause.
Her picture was put up in the store lobby, she got new business cards with Nordstrom All-Star written on them, a 14-karat gold pin, a 100-dollar award, and was invited to represent her department at the regional meeting. At the regional meeting, they read Tyree’s letter and everyone gave Stephanie a standing ovation. “This is what we want all of our employees to be like!” said the manager who read the letter.
Tyree was already a little overwhelmed when Stephanie took his hand. “But that’s not the best part, Tyree,” she said. “The day of that first store meeting, I took a list of the nominees, and put your letter behind it. I took it home and gave it to my father. He read everything and looked at me and asked, ‘When do you find out who won?’ I said, ‘I won, Dad.’ He looked me right in the eye and said, ‘Stephanie, I’m really proud of you.’ ”
Quietly, she said, “My dad has never said he was proud of me.”
Tyree thinks he’ll remember that moment all his life. That was when he realized what a powerful gift appreciation can be. Shelly’s appreciation of her workers had set into motion a chain of events – Stephanie’s beautiful basket, his letter, Nordstrom’s award – that had changed at least three lives. It was the Christmas when he was an elf and a broke teenager – the Christmas that he truly came to understand that the littlest things can make the biggest difference.