'Undercover Boss': Mohegan Sun Chairman Gives Valet Who Flunks Him Life-Changing Gift

Bruce 'Two Dogs' Bozsum rewards single mom $35,000

'Undercover Boss': Mohegan Sun Chairman's Life-Changing Gift To Valet

Just because you've been a valet customer, doesn't mean you can be a valet driver. Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, retiring chairman of the Mohegan Sun, learned this first-hand during Friday's episode of "Undercover Boss." The Mohegan Sun is a three-location gaming, lodging and entertainment empire owned and operated by the Mohegan Tribe of America. Employing some 13,000, the enterprise generates more than $1 billion in revenue annually.

Mohegan means "wolf people" and the tribe took the unconventional route of Wall Street funding to open its first commercial casino in Uncasville, CT. Since then, casinos have opened in Pennsylvania and Atlantic City, N.J. Decisions are made the tribal way for the long-term, based on looking ahead 13 generations, according to Boszum.

Employees stay
Half of all workers employed by Mohegan in 1996 on day one still work there 17 years later and these are not necessarily career-track positions.

"No one is pushed aside. You're always taken care of," says Bozsum, a family man and father of eight. He's a spiritual person and also serves as pipe carrier for the tribe performing weddings, blessing building sites, and other ceremonial duties. He's retiring from his business role after second term as chairman and has worked at the casino since inception – construction, design, the Bingo hall and cultural programs.

"As I prepare to pass the torch," he said, "it's essential I learn what's working and what isn't."

When Bruce (masquerading as reality show entrepreneur "Sam") meets Melanie, she exudes patience and competence.

What a valet does at Mohegan
"I've used valet, but I've never done the job," says Bruce, who must record the first and last names of each customer along with license plate number, put it in the car and go on to the next one. Within moments, he's written a ticket whose plate number is too messy to decipher.

"That's what happens when you rush," cautions Melanie. She gives him some allowance: "He's an older man and it's his first time."

Boszum fails the car retrieval timing test, clocking a full three minutes longer than the five minutes allotted to run to the car, unlock the door, and drive it back to the waiting customer. Sounds easy, but watch the clip to see how Boszum even bungled the door opening.

Senior citizen hazard
Melanie points out there is a hazard at the pick-up and drop-off area. Many of the patrons are older, moving with some difficulty or with walkers. Several have fallen because there are few curb cuts for the handicapped to roll into their vehicles.

It's crucial to "remember customer service," Melanie says and, "always make sure we get the doors for them."

Bruce is impressed with Melanie's dedication to the customer having a top-notch experience, since it requires trust to leave your car with a complete stranger and have a good time in the casino.

Melanie's assessment of his performance: "I think it was pretty bad. I think he would need a lot more practice to work in valet."

Hours cut and no benefits
During their break, Melanie confides she's only working part-time and the casino is cutting hours. She has a 5-year-old daughter and is on state healthcare. Her fiancé stays home and cares for her child. If she worked full-time, she would get 40 hours and the benefits she needs.

"Everyone wants that wedding you'll remember the rest of your life," Melanie tells Bruce. But since she pays all the bills, and lacks even a high school diploma or GED, it seems like a pipedream.

"Melanie is a wonderful person," Bruce tells the camera. "I understand what is going on in her life. I had three children back when I didn't have a life. Melanie's got opportunities here. She's a great employee. I want to help her in any way I can."

When his identity is revealed, Melanie is pleased to hear Bruce will have more handicap ramps installed in the valet area.

$35,000 is life-changing
"There's something you need to finish," he adds. "I want you to make sure you get your GED. I want to make sure you have time off [to complete the coursework] and have a babysitter. You'll make me proud just like you're my own daughter."

In addition to $10,000 to subsidize her study expenses and medical bills, he gives her $10,000 for her dream wedding and $15,000 to put away for a college fund for her daughter. (Melanie is now a full-time employee with full benefits.)

"My biggest fear is gone," Melanie said. "I'm going to have health care. $35,000 is life-changing. For it to happen to me, I'm very thankful."

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I absolutely love this show, several of them have brought me to tears. I cannot say I've ever experienced this level of generosity from an employer. What I can say is I have experienced what it feels like to be valued and appreciated by an employer in the past. Times have since changed, priorities have changed and I guess the economy strife has changed bottomlines. Not really sure if it depends on the industry you work with or not. Honestly I think it's the people you work for and it shouldn't matter if you are the President, CEO or the Valet, acknowledging your employees with kindness, respect and dignity should be your Mission and Vision for any organization..which costs absolutely nothing. ...

January 21 2014 at 12:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The show is amazing! Love how they give, give, give. Good to see this.

January 21 2014 at 1:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wouldn't it be nice if more CEOs developed respect for the front line people in their business? Most would consider a valet parking attendant to be overpaid at minimum wage, believing that it's a job even a monkey could be trained to perform. Minimizing the value of subordinates seems to come naturally to these people, who believe that they are superior to all of their employees in every way. It's funny when they learn what failures they are while attempting to perform these seemingly easy tasks. I've seen it time and time again. It's rare to find one who actually learns from the experience.

January 20 2014 at 8:12 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Spread this attitude around.

January 20 2014 at 7:55 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

paying 400 dollars a month on a car payment must be hard owning an audi..little money for heat and insurance

January 20 2014 at 7:54 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dante's comment
Elizabeth M

Do you actually know how much she pays for her car?.. That's my cousin and we don't really get along but I'll tell you one thing if anyone deserves the type of reward she got it's her she's worked her ass off to get where she's gotten and she did it mainly by herself who are you to judge anyone

January 22 2014 at 12:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mohegan Sun is much cleaner than Foxwoods in Conn.

January 20 2014 at 7:23 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Heres a nice story of the Brass comming down to hang out with the working stiff's. I work for a northeast utility and one day the Brass came down to see what it's like in the trenches on a very hot August Morning. Well when one of our rather portly VP's got into one of our hot box van's he looked over to the service man and told him (while he was wiping the sweat off his brow} "ok kid turn on the AC" . The service man replied "roll down the window". After spending the entire day sweating his butt off the comany finally decited to start buying AC vehicles.
There reason why they didn't want to give us AC vehicles was we wouldn't want to get out of the trucks in the summer....The same service man told him " we get out of them in the winter don't we"

January 20 2014 at 7:08 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Having been to the Mohegan Sun several times in our travels, I would like to say the employees are great and the casino is BEAUTIFUL.

January 20 2014 at 6:08 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Is that 35K clear or will she get a 1099 ?

January 20 2014 at 5:27 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bill's comment

She doesn't actually ever see the money. It's paid for as she does those things mentioned

January 20 2014 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Daddy O

At least the CEO's are reaching out and could stumble across alot of knowledge about real life.

January 20 2014 at 4:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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