'Undercover Boss': Moes Southwest Grill CEO Paul Damico Is A True Believer In Providing For Workers
Unless you have a supportive and willing family or a spouse with a very good job, most of us are forced to provide for ourselves.
But in the latest episode of "Undercover Boss," featuring Paul Damico, the CEO of the Atlanta-based Moes Southwest Grill, the ability of an employer to step in during a time of need was revealed.Damico learned this lesson early. Growing up on Long Island, New York, his brother, infected with hepatitis, needed a liver transplant.
When the call came, it was an emergency-like situation. The family only had two hours to show up in Pittsburgh, so Northrop Grumman -- his father's employer at the time -- made a helicopter available to fly Damico's brother to Pennsylvania. The procedure saved his life.
Damico knew he had to pay it forward when he met his employees, a line worker in Nashville named Damon, during his appearance this past Friday on "Undercover Boss," the CBS series now in its fourth season. During his appearance, Damico was posing as "Mark Richards," a failed restauranteur appearing on a second chances reality show in the hope of opening a new restaurant.
Damico seized the chance to do right by this worker, just as his father's company had done right by his family. In the reveal, he told Damon he wanted to give him a package of treats. This -- as shown in the video above -- included $15,000 for a car, and $20,000 each for a college fund and day care for his daughter.
The experience with Damon reinforced a powerful lesson from Damico's youth -- a workplace can be a guardian for its workers. Such largesse is central to the television show. Last season, Diamond Resorts CEO Stehen Cloobeck told Amanda she wouldn't have to use her salary anymore to pay for her mother's bills for her multiple sclerosis. He was going to start paying for it.
Tito was just nine months into his role as manager, but he was a stern taskmaster, who saw himself as above the day-to-day details of food preparation. He also was a bit nasty to employees. He told "Mark" he'd only show him once how to properly roll a burrito, and then exposed his tendency to give his workers tongue-lashings when he saw fit. He regularly turned to his staff telling them to "shut it." He also called one worker a "ding-dong" in front of the customers. Finally, he even told "Mark" that he was "one the slowest people here."
But for Damico, the experience with Tito was a result of extenuating circumstances. He soon found out that this worker was all of 19 years old, and so he considered his poor behavior a result of immaturity.
And in the reveal, Damico told Tito that he will give him a second chance. He told Tito he must pitch in with his workers, and he will fly him to Atlanta where he will have the experience of working a shift at the company's headquarters.
But he also left him with a lesson.
"I want you to treat your associates with the utmost respect," he said.
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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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