Watch: Customers Surprise Beloved Bagel Shop Worker With a Car

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Former Staff Writer
2 min read

The transcendent impact of good customer service can inspire your customers to do the unthinkable -- just ask 47-year-old North Carolina native Shirley Ratliff.

Every morning, Ratliff takes three buses to work to open up Bruegger’s Bagels in Raleigh at 5 a.m., where she regularly serves up breakfast and gregarious banter. “She’s Shirley,” Craig Boyd, a Bruegger’s customer, told the News & Observer. “She takes care of us and always has a smile.”

Over the years, Ratliff has forged meaningful relationships with her “guests,” as she calls them -- so much so that, when she fell on hard times, they banded together in support. Ratliff, who had been saving up for a car for years to ease her daily commute, was suddenly diagnosed with cervical cancer and besieged by hospital bills.

Related: Not in the Mood to Battle Corporate Customer Service? Get a Jerk to Do It For You.

Enter ‘Shirley’s Fan Club’ -- a group of about 20 customers who decided to pay Ratliff’s special kindness forward. Together, they raised $1,500 to purchase her a 1992 Buick LeSabre for Christmas, presented alongside a gasoline gift card.

“We wanted to show you how much you make our day when we come here,” said David Burton, a local dentist who spearheaded the effort. “Every morning, you’re always in a good mood, you’re always smiling, you put up with my terrible jokes.”

“Oh God,” a tearful Ratcliff said upon seeing her new car. “It was all worth it!”

Watch the emotional moment right here:

Related: If You Want Happy Customers, Do These 5 Things (Infographic)

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