Panera Bread Manager
I just thought I would share with you how what ya'll have done for Juanita is spreading throughout Panera. I passed this along to a couple of individuals that pass certain communications on to the rest of the 'Panera World'. This is what got posted to a website that is called Panera Connect. It has about 3,500 members and is similar to Facebook but only for Panera associates. Enjoy the story and I promise I will have more to come. The GOOD NEWS is spreading!!!
This story comes from Tim Hyre, a manager at cafe 1383 in Snellville, GA. Thanks for sharing such a touching story, Tim. It’s obvious you’ve created a great oasis for your customers!
We opened our doors on November 6th, 2009 as a ‘smart car concept’. Since that first weekend we had a very loyal customer or shall I say customers! A group of 3 guys started to meet in the back corner of the cafe every other Saturday! The group is called EncourageMen. Since beginning their mission they have grown to over 150 and they haven’t missed one single Saturday since we’ve opened. I know you are thinking, you have 150 guys every other Saturday? Well, not quite. We have about 30-40 men that meet on a regular basis in the back half of the cafe. About a year and a half ago the cafe went through a MAJOR renovation and we added over 100 seats. We went from “Smart Car” to a “Hummer”, lol! The EncourageMen group was growing and so we thought we’d grow with them, wink-wink!
Within the past month the EncourageMen group approached us and said they wanted to bless one of our associates. The first associate that came to mind was Juanita Seals. Juanita is our Day Baker and does a fabulous job. She bakes some of the best bagels I’ve seen. I always say, “How do you get these bagels to be so good”? She will respond with something like, “WITH LOVE” and I totally agree. On November 29th I was working and I walked into the back Juanita was leaned over at the prep table and had shortness of breath. I immediately called 911 and they were there within minutes, swooped her up and off they went. We all said a prayer AND had our fingers crosssed! She ended up being ok and tests showed it was stress related. We were relieved it wasn’t more serious. She ended up missing 5 days of work at Panera and 5 days at her other job for a total of 10 days without pay. This was tough. The EncourageMen group felt there was an associate in the cafe that needed help and little did they know, they were right. When I walked into the cafe this past Saturday I walked straight into a BLESSING. This group of VERY LOYAL customers blessed Juanita with gifts for her grandchildren. She wouldn’t have been able to give them christmas presents without the gift from EncourageMen. If that wasn’t enough, they presented her with $1700. I really think good things come to those that bless others and that is exactly what Juanita is to us, a blessing.