Sarah Stultz: Imagine the impact of a bonus like that

Published 8:47 pm Monday, December 16, 2019

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz


I couldn’t help but get caught up in the story last week of the Maryland real estate company that handed out around $10 million in surprise bonuses to its employees.

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The 198 employees were attending their holiday party when they found out the company reached its goal of developing 20 million square feet in real estate and they all would be receiving bonuses.

However, instead of receiving a couple hundred dollars or even a couple thousand dollars as a bonus, the employees received an average bonus of $50,000 each, depending on their time with the company.

According to one news article I read, the largest bonus was $270,000 and the smallest bonus was $100 for a person who was just hired and hadn’t started yet.

The photos and videos of the announcement being made were emotional. They showed employees crying and hugging. Others stood in awe with their mouths open, unable at first to believe the gift that was just given to them.

The employees undoubtedly had just experienced a life-changing moment. Some said they would use the money to pay off their mortgages, student loans or other debt; others wanted to help their families or get their children to college.

The story got my mind running in many directions.

I thought about the employees who had just been the benefactors of an unexpected, generous gift.

That gift will likely not only benefit their lives but also the lives of their family members and friends in some fashion or another. The impact will probably be felt for many years to come, and the trickle-down effect of that action has the opportunity to impact many.

I also thought about the leaders of the company, who consciously made the decision to thank their employees and who recognized that their company would not be where it is today without all of their hard work.

Wow — what generosity.

Though it is likely not possible for most companies to give bonuses that large to their employees, I hope businesses will follow in the example of recognizing the value of their workers and make an effort to thank them in whatever way they can.

The thing I love about this story is that it speaks to the innate goodness of people, and the chance everyone, everywhere, has to impact other lives for good.

We may not have $10 million to give away, but we can make a difference in other ways, whether it’s a kind word, a hug, a card or a few minutes of your time. The options really are limitless on what can be done for good for those around us.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.