'Undercover Boss': Pest Control Exec Makes Employees' Dreams Come True
Featured on "Undercover Boss" this past Friday, the young mom explained her predicament to a man whom she thought was named "Bob," and in keeping with the format of the CBS reality series, Bob -- actually John Wilson, the president and chief operating officer of Rollins Inc, parent company of Orkin -- was so moved by the humble worker's lot that he gave her a life-changing gift.
What did he give her? He went all out for Paisley, presenting her with:
- A $15,000 fund to help fund each child's college education.
- $20,000 to help her move.
- A new Ford Escape.
Wilson also lavished attention on another employee, Aaron. During the show's reveal, Wilson invited Aaron, a branch sales and service inspector, to visit the company's headquarters in Atlanta to discuss opportunities at the company, which brings in $1.3 billion of revenue a year. (His reaction is also featured in the video above.) What motivated the invitation? Aaron had put his pursuit of a degree in zoology on hold to support his family, Wilson told viewers during the show. (Wilson promised to send Aaron and his family to Washington, D.C., to see the Orkin Insect Zoo at the Smithsonian.)
Wilson's empathy for both employees seemed sincere. As he explained early in the episode, he grew up in a single-parent household; he was raised by his father after his parents divorced. He moved 12 times in his childhood to follow his father, who also worked for Orkin. Wilson spent the first 18 years of his career in the restaurant business, however. He didn't go to work for Orkin until 1996, when he had a family and "wanted normal work hours," according to an interview that he gave to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. His father died before he rose to the executive spot at Orkin.
The show didn't play up the potentially humorous (or repellent) aspects of working at a pest control company. While taking Wilson on a house tour to exterminate termites, Paisley turned to him and said that getting stung by a weasel is part of the training to work at Orkin. Wilson missed the joke completely. "Bob seems a little boring," she told the camera. "Bob needs to loosen up."
Despite being in its fourth season, "Undercover Boss" is experiencing a revival in ratings as it continues to celebrate conscientious American workers like Paisley. The network already has announced that the show will have a fifth season in the fall.
Of course, viewers do seem to enjoy when the series shows miscreants in the workplace. Just last week, a front desk manager at a Retro Fitness gym was fired on the air for her attitude. "I am not a f****** slave!" she said, in explaining why she didn't follow the company's directions on how to refill juice machines. She also barked at customers, telling one: "You're payment' is overdue!"
Orkin, which has 2 million customers across the globe, showcased no such turbulence this past week. In fact, it has been weathering many storms of late. Bed bug infestations throughout the country over the past few years has made Orkin a trusted source, and each year the company releases its highly cited list of cities with the worst bed bug problems.
And the outbreak has also made its services -- including pesticide treatments -- more popular. In publishing the company's list of top cities for bed bugs, ABC News reported in January that Orkin has seen a 33 percent increase in its bed bug eradication business since 2011.
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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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