Before joining Zappos, I heard stories about how the company went above and beyond for its employees.
But I wasn't prepared for the amount of generosity I was about experience, not only from the company itself but also from the people who work there.
Like so many others, I’ve struggled on and off financially throughout my entire adult life. When I got hired at Zappos, it was such a relief because my husband had been unemployed for nearly a year. I had my dream job at Zappos, but things were still really tight. I was the only one with an income, and we have a 9-year-old daughter to support.
Quickly after my start date, Christmas seemed to creep up out of nowhere. I was in such a whirlwind of new hire training that I hadn't stopped to think, "How the heck am I going to afford Christmas presents?” I was barely getting by with my bills, and I have too much pride to ask my family for help. I budgeted every which way I could, but there was no money left for presents.
That's when a coworker told me about the Wishez program. Created in 2010, it's an internal message board for Zappos employees to post anything they want, and other Zapponians can grant those wishes for them.
Now, as I said, I'm not the type of person who likes to ask for help, and I was incredibly embarrassed for anyone to know how much I was struggling. But I thought if I could make a wish for just a couple of gift cards to buy presents, I’d be satisfied knowing I’ve done my best to give my daughter the magic of Santa Claus. So, I posted my wish and, honestly, forgot about it for a while.
When wishes get granted, there’s a big, fun production that goes along with it. The main "wish fairy" helps to link the wishers with the wish granters.
A group of fellow fairies (anyone who wants to participate in the fun can volunteer) then parade throughout the building where the employee sits. Most are wearing glitter wings and blast music in true Zappos fashion. Since I’m super introverted and can’t handle any attention, I specifically asked for “no parade please” when listing my wish.
A few days before Christmas, I sat taking calls and who but appeared? Yes, the Zappos wish fairy. “A bunch of Zapponians saw your wish and wanted to help,” he said, and had asked me to follow him into a nearby conference room.
One by one he pulled out all of these amazing gifts for my little girl. Out came Batman toys, Minecraft Legos and even a Nintendo DS with games! She had never had anything like that before.
More and more toys and gift cards kept pouring out, and I couldn't believe it. I almost didn't want to accept it. How could anyone be that generous to someone they didn't even know?
Very humbly, he handed me my gifts, and I could see the pride on his face from what we'd both experienced: the complete and utter kindness of our fellow employees.
Weeks before I'd been in a scared and hopeless predicament, but with my coworkers' help they gave my family a Christmas miracle. This will forever be my favorite Zappos memory and a moment I'll pay forward.