2 min read

Some holiday channel cheer

The story of a salesman who made a thoughtful gesturern

CDN This Week is taking a holiday break. We'll be back with more industry news and opinion Jan. 4



I’ve been a professional speaker since 1981. I hear all kinds of great stories about salespeople. This is the most powerful story I’ve heard in all my years in business. It makes me proud to be a salesman.

I met Cindy earlier this year in Chicago when she told this story in my customer service seminar. I was so moved by it that I asked her if I could share this with my clients. She was gracious enough to give me the permission to use this for my Holiday Sales Bytes. Enjoy. And God bless Cindy and her family for sharing their story with us:


In early December 2003, my 22 year-old daughter, Fawn, died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. It’s true when they say there is no loss that can compare to losing your own child.

I had nothing appropriate to wear to my daughter’s wake and funeral, so I needed to go shopping at the mall (Stratford Square Mall, Bloomingdale, Ill.). It was difficult being out, especially since it was the beginning of the holiday season. With every Christmas carol my heart broke just a bit more.

When I left the dress shop, I felt an overpowering need to have something to remind me of Fawn. I noticed a Kay Jewelers across from the shop. As I walked through the entrance, a salesman named Mike walked up to me smiling broadly and said “Happy Holidays.” His smile vanished when he saw my swollen eyes and tear-stained face. I told him I was looking for a pin or necklace or something that had an angel to remind me of my beloved daughter.

As we looked through the glass display together, he paused and said, “I think I might have something you’d like, but I need to go downstairs for it. Can you wait a moment?” I agreed to wait. Upon his return he showed me a beautiful golden heart locket with an angel on its front. He told me his dear friend had passed away two years ago and he gave a locket just like this one to the friend’s mother. She placed a lock of her son’s hair in the locket and it remains with her at all times.

I was overwhelmed! I said, “This is perfect-what do I owe you?” He gently opened my hand and placed the locket inside and said, “You own me nothing-this is my gift to you.” This time tears of joy ran down my cheeks. I gave him a huge hug and asked for his business card. I told him he had no idea how much he helped a grieving mother. His compassionate gift will never be forgotten.

That Christmas, my husband returned to the store and purchased a mother’s ring for me. My two sons bought gifts for their girlfriends and will only shop at Kay Jewelers. In fact, everyone I have told this story to has vowed to do all their fine jewelry shopping at that store.

I’m not sure how much my locket cost the salesman or the store, but since that day they have made a life-long customer and many more through the generosity of one special salesperson.


Word of mouth goes a long way.

Merry Christmas to all of you and feel free to pass this story along. Share the spirit.

Tom Reilly wrote the book on Value Added Sellingwww.TomReillyTraining.com