Penske Location Raises Money for Associate Facing Financial Hardship
Editor’s note: This story is part of our “50 Stories of People Helping People” series. As we celebrate Penske’s 50th anniversary in 2019, we are spotlighting associates every Friday who are making a difference in their communities.
Providing excellent customer service and helping others are just some of the things that separate Penske associates from the competition. But, the secret sauce that makes Penske associates truly different from the rest is their ability to help one of their own when they are in need of assistance.
A recent example of this can be traced to Kent, Washington, where Maintenance Supervisor Bill Chisley and his team recognized that one of their colleagues was feeling the financial pinch of the January government shutdown.
Around two weeks into the shutdown, Chisley had overheard a phone conversation from Elisabeth Sprinkle, a service administrator. She was speaking with her husband, who works as a customs officer at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, about their upcoming mortgage and bill payments that were due. Sprinkle’s husband had been working while not receiving pay for several weeks.
“Although I didn’t know any specifics, I could hear the stress in her voice over the phone that something was wrong,” said Chisley. “I started to get concerned.”
After hearing that the government shutdown was seriously effecting Sprinkle and her husband, Chisley decided he wanted to help.
“Without her knowing, I went to each associate and told them of the idea to collect money for her family, and everyone wanted to help,” Chisley said. “Over a couple of weeks, and by word of mouth, everyone chipped in, and we put our money together to help Elisabeth’s family. No one should have to worry about having to pay their bills when something like this happens – especially because this is something you can’t control.”
Together, as part of an associate effort, the Kent associates raised $850, and they couldn’t wait to present it to Sprinkle.
When the time finally came, Chisley asked Sprinkle to join him and the rest of the team for their regularly scheduled shift huddle, but Sprinkle admits she was initially confused by the request.
“When Bill asked me to attend, I thought it was a little weird because I usually don’t sit in on their shift huddles, but he had told me there was some pertinent safety information that I needed to know, so I didn’t question it,” said Sprinkle.
As she walked over to meet everyone, she noticed everybody gathered around.
“I was handed a clipboard with a card on it and the money all of my coworkers collected for me,” she said.
As a great deal of emotion rushed through her, she realized her colleagues were aware of her situation and voluntarily reached out to lend a helping hand.
“I wouldn’t think of myself as a crier, but I definitely cried this time,” Sprinkle said. “This crew is like my second family. I have never experienced such kindness or generosity in any other workplace, and I am proud to call this Penske team mine.”
When asked why they chose to step in and help, Chisley didn’t hesitate to say, “Elisabeth always has a smile on her face and helps everyone with everything,” he said. “You can tell when something is bothering someone, even when they don’t show it or bring it to work with them.
“We’re a family. We look out for each other. Penske is a good company with good people.”
Pictured are Chisley (farthest left), Sprinkle (center) and associates at the Kent, Washington, location.
By Chris Abruzzo