By Melissa Winter, Team Leader, Ancaster
I nominated Stuart for the 2019 #BeingCoop Do What Matters Most award for his response to one of the most distressing experiences of my life.
One night last year my colleague and I were working in store when two men entered wearing masks, armed with knives and hammers. They threatened me and demanded I opened the tills and safes for them. It was terrifying – I never imagined anything like this would actually happen to me, especially at work.
Once they’d left, I secured the shop and waited for the police to arrive. Panicked and distressed, I phoned our manager Stuart, who answered the phone and calmly listened. Without hesitation, he drove straight from his house to the store to make sure me and my colleague were alright. Although we were physically unharmed, we were visibly shaken and he did everything he could to reassure us.
The next day Stuart should have been enjoying his day off, but instead he came in to help and ensure the store could reopen as soon as possible. He worked hard to assist the police and make sure we felt safe and comfortable. Stuart also made regular contact in the following days to check how we were getting on. He provided me with invaluable emotional and professional support which really showed how much he cares for our welfare.
Unfortunately retail crime is on the increase, but rather than being seen as a crime against individuals, it’s often seen as a crime against a business. I fully support the work Co-op is doing to change this view with our Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign, and I urge everyone to get on board. Only by doing this can we begin to tackle major issues such as violence against shop workers. Each attack in our stores is an attack on our colleagues and sometimes the personal impact can last a lifetime.
Stuart understood this and went above and beyond to comfort us. We’ve always known he’s genuine, kind-hearted and hard-working, but this has really proven it. It’s just one example of him putting his ‘all’ into everything he does. I honestly believe he does it because he’s so proud of our team and our store.
Stuart deserved to win because of his hard work and determination to succeed together. I personally wouldn’t have been able to return work after the incident if it wasn’t for him.
My sincerest thanks to Stuart and a huge congratulations for winning the #BeingCoop Do What Matters Most award.