Howard Cooper, 83, sold his Michigan car dealership in Ann Arbor in April so he could retire. However he also presented each of his 89 workers with a bonus of $1,000 for each year they had worked with him.
He sold his dealership to Ohio-based Germain Motor Co. only on condition that all his employees were retained as well. Cooper's dealership had been in business for 47 years. The bonuses were a complete surprise.
Employee Sandy Reagan said: 'I sat next to a person who drives the parts van and he's been here almost 28 years. He doesn't make a ton of money, but he got almost $28,000.
'I watched his face and he just said, "Oh my God," said Reagan, who has been with the company 46 years.
Cooper's dealership was family-run. Cooper said of the checks: 'I wanted to thank my employees and that was a way I could do it... I hope it makes a difference in their lives like they have made in mine.'
Not surprisingly Cooper received a standing ovation when he distributed the checks. Cooper did not reveal the total amount of money he distributed. Mechanic Bob Jenkins received $26,000. Jenkins said:.'You just don't expect something like that. The whole place was just in shock. People are still talking about it.' Jenkins said he was putting his money in the bank noting that he had two young children so the money would be put to good use.
Jenkins told CBC Radio that during his farewell to the workers Cooper gathered all his staff and told them he would give them each a check for a thousand dollars. Everyone thought that was great. But then Cooper added: "For every year of service you have been with the company". Jenkins estimates that Cooper must have given away over a million dollars.
Cooper told his employees:'The business has been my whole life for 47 years...I love what I've done and I enjoyed going to work in the morning.'
No doubt Cooper had a successful business for almost half a century because he loved his work, had satisfied customers and workers as well.