An Open Letter (and huge thank you) to Corey Finke of Toys “R” Us
It’s taken me ten minutes to start writing this post. Not because I don’t have any words. Because, of those, I’ve got plenty. But, because I’ve been trying to figure out how to type the backward R in Toys “R” Us. This, until I realized that Toys “R” Us doesn’t even type their own R backwards.
So, feeling much less pressured, we can begin.
For those of you who don’t keep up with Allison’s Daily Antics (for shame), I’ll give you the cliff notes version to my latest life plot line.
Last Monday, I took off my wedding rings while we were en route to Leo’s three year well-check. My fingers were hurting, and I’m constantly taking them off and putting them back on. I tucked them away in my car, then immediately thought, “Hey stupid that’s not safe!” So, instead, I placed them in the safest place ever known to man – my wallet.
An hour later, the boys and I headed over to Toys “R” Us to buy Leo an “I’m sorry some random stranger just stuck four needles in your thighs” toy.
We checked out and began to make our way to the car, but quickly became side-tracked by those quarter machines with the toys in them.
There are about ten of them in between the double set of automatic exit doors. (I see what you did there, Toys “R” Us. Well-played.)
In unison, the boys began begging for quarters. Being the pushover I am, I sat down all our bags, grabbed my wallet out of my purse, and began digging for quarters. Luca couldn’t figure out how to put two quarters in the machine at once, so I knelt down to help him.
Thirty minutes later, the three of us back at the house, I realized my wallet was missing.
First thought: Ugh! I’m gonna have to stand in line at the DMV for ten hours to get a new driver’s license!
Second thought: Double ugh! There is no DMV that replaces wedding rings. HOLY CRAP MY WEDDING RINGS!
Cue massive panic attack.
I called Toys “R” Us right away, only to be told that no one had turned in my wallet. So, I got in my car and broke about five traffic laws booking it back over there.
I walked in and waited to speak with the manager. The moment I saw him I burst into tears – sobbing, heaving, unstoppable tears. I explained the situation and how I’d been meaning to get them insured for eight years now. He was as nice as could be, which just made me cry even harder. With nothing else to be done, I gave him my information, then went home to bang my head against the wall.
I was the first one at Toys “R” Us the next morning. Same manager. I had already filed a police report and was anxious to get someone’s eyes on the store’s surveillance camera. The only problem was that no one in the store had access to them, so that meant I would have to jump through about ten Toys “R” Us and HPD red-taped hoops.
I could feel the heat of my diamond ring being melted into cold hard cash.
Cue temper tantrum.
After whining and whining I was given the number to their Regional Asset Protection Manager.
(And, lord knows I need my ass(ets) protected, so perfect.)
Although I was positive this was but the first of many people I’d be bounced around to, I went ahead and left a message anyway.
Two minutes later, Mr. Corey Finke returned my call. I explained to him that this was time-sensitive and begged him to get the ball rolling, so that HPD could get their hands on the surveillance footage.
“Oh, I am already uploading the footage now. I can view it remotely. Let me see if I can find something out.”
Five minutes later, Mr. Finke called back.
“I saw the man who took your wallet, from exactly the spot you said you’d left it.”
This was wonderful!
Only, I knew that I’d then have to get HPD to take me seriously, and enough so to open up an investigation. Being that Houston is the fourth largest city in the country, this was no easy feat.
It took 48 hours for an investigator to be assigned to my case. But, little did I know, Corey had been working tirelessly behind the scenes, to try to figure out on his own who stole my things. All the while, being completely gracious with me and my one million texts.
On Wednesday afternoon, the investigator was assigned to my case (a fact I’m sure had nothing to do with my refusal to leave HPD headquarters until someone made this happen.)
Friday morning, the officer spoke with Corey. I was told it wouldn’t be until Monday, at the earliest, that someone would be dispatched to the suspect’s residence.
Crestfallen, I hung up with Corey and packed my overnight bags to head over to the DMV.
Five minutes later, Corey called back. When I answered, I knew by the tone of his voice that he had gotten my things back.
Long story short…
Corey had figured out who took my wallet and rings and, piece by piece, followed a trail which led to an acquaintance of the suspect. Corey informed this person that I would only press charges if my things weren’t returned.
An hour later, my wallet – with every single thing in it, including my wedding rings – was returned to the store.
I shouted out a few gracious expletives and headed over to pick them up.
Corey was waiting for me when I got there – he doesn’t even live in Houston mind you. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I bear-hugged him.
He pulled my rings out and handed them to me. I’m not sure who was happier between the two of us but, with the huge grins and laughs, it probably looked like a wedding proposal.
The officer called to ask if I’d like to to press charges against the man. Only, the man was not a man at all, he was a 16 year old kid. I told him there was no way in hell I was going to ruin a 16 year old’s life with a felony charge. Everyone deserves a second chance.
Before we hung up, the officer told me, “You know, I have never in all my years seen an employee go above and beyond the way that Corey did for you.”
Tell me something I don’t know, man.
One of the biggest corporations in the country, finding and returning my things that were stolen in one of the biggest cities in the country? Unheard of.
And, not only did Corey work to solve this on his own, he did it graciously and with so much sincerity. I mean, sure, this kind of thing fits into his job description, but it wasn’t just a job to him. No, this wasn’t just another case number for Corey. He went out of his way because it was the right thing to do, plain and simple.
It’s so rare these days to meet someone like him – someone so competent, dependable, hardworking, personable, and sincere.
So, listen up, Toys “R” Us – you hired an amazing employee that you best never let slip away.
Corey, if I could said thank you a million and one times it would not be enough. So, thank you times infinity. Not only for bringing my things back home, but for showing me that there’s still good people and heroes in this world.
You have won a forever Toys “R” Us customer in me. (Which is awesome, because my kids are spoiled and determined.)
Just no more quarter machines.