It’s always a relief to find out that some people prioritize compassion over an easy sale. It would have been so simple for two Target employees to sell gift cards worth $4,000 when an elderly couple walked into their Mechanicsville outlet and placed the order, but something about the situation struck them as off.
Matthew Drye, who was manning the cash register, noticed how distressed their elderly customers looked and hesitated over the large amount of money they asked to be put in the cards. How much did they want to put on the cards?
“$2,000 each,” they replied.
Mariah Thomas, another Target employee, came over—and she shared Drye’s concern. The two decided to probe a little to find out if their intuition was right.
With some careful questioning the two finally got the story out of them. The elderly couple had received a call earlier about their grandson from someone who introduced himself as a police officer of Hanover County. The man told them that their grandson had been arrested, and the only way to get him out was to hand over two gift cards worth $2,000 each from Target.
Confused but terrified for the well-being of their grandchild, the elderly couple hurried to their nearest Target outlet to buy gift cards worth $4,000.
As soon as the Target employees heard this story, they realized that a scammer may be behind the phone call. They explained their suspicions to the couple and dissuaded them from making such a costly purchase before ascertaining the whereabouts of their grandson.
It was soon unveiled that the couple had been the victim of a phishing call and that their grandson was in no danger.
In fact, he was safe at home.
The simple step of raising doubt about the phone call’s veracity managed to break through the elderly couple’s panic. Sometimes that is all that is needed to help the people in distress. A moment to stop and think.
Matthew and Mariah became heroes for the old couple, who would have lost a lot of money had they ignored their instincts and gone through with the purchase of the cards. Their decision to follow their gut and take quick actions saved the two Hanover senior citizens a lot of psychological and financial harm.
Local authorities were very impressed by the honesty and integrity of the two employees. Common perception of multinational companies like Target suggests that their employees would never be free to turn away a big value transaction like this on moral ground. However, the Matthew and Mariah put serving the customer before company profit and acted on the promptings of their conscience.
David Hines, the Hanover County Sheriff, was extremely pleased by the intelligence and perceptiveness of the two employees. He also added that when citizens are vigilante and caring towards their community it helps the overworked police force who can’t always be present to avert crimes in progress. He called such brave individuals the “eyes and ears” of the Sheriff’s department.
The story ended on an even happier note when the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office recognized the two for their principled actions. Matthew Drye and Mariah Thomas were awarded the Challenge Coins, elevating them into local heroes.