Chase Employees Send Colleagues a Rental Truck Full of Food and Clean Water

San Antonio employees step up for their work family.

The San Antonio office drove to Houston to deliver bottled water and food to their colleagues.

Photo: Chase employees carrying boxes of supplies

Janine S., operations leader of Chase's Retail Customer Service, didn't know what to expect when she went to work in Houston last Thursday. The call center, located east of the city center, had escaped the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey, but many employees were busy attending to lost homes and cars.

She wasn't the only one craving a normal routine. Over a hundred employees also came in that day. "Some of them had been stuck in third-floor apartments for days," Janine says.

They needed a friendly face, as well as basic things like food and water.

That afternoon, they saw a welcome sight: A rental truck, driven by two employees from the (unaffected) San Antonio office. It was packed with bottled water, canned goods, muffins, soups and mac and cheese.

A crowd of Chase's Houston specialists came out to greet the truck, breaking out into applause for the employees who made the trip: Joseph P., operations leader, and Sheldon H., the division leader.

'We weren't alone'

Janine says she won't forget the moment the truck arrived.

"We knew in our heads that we weren't alone," she said. "But when they showed up in that rental truck, we felt it. Everyone was emotional. It was beautiful."

Joseph agreed. "It was incredible," he said. "Everyone was so excited. They gave us hugs, and 'thank yous.' Here I am thinking, 'Mac and cheese in a cup – how much good is that going to do anyone?'"

Joseph rolled out a banner, signed by employees in San Antonio. It read: "Sending you our Thoughts and Prayers" --Your San Antonio Retail Customer Service Colleagues

"They loved it. People said they had goosebumps reading the personal notes," Joseph said. "We struck the right nerve."

Planning the moment

The idea for a rental truck originally came from a conversation among the leadership team about how to support returning employees.

Janine was clear about what they needed: Water and canned goods. "The few local stores that were open had shortened hours, and only allowed limited purchases," she said.

On hearing about the need for food and water, Lori M., the Human Resources partner, suggested bringing it in a rental truck.

Employees in San Antonio banded together to help. About ten specialists went to Sam's Club and loaded it up. Then Joseph and Sheldon made the two and a half hour trip, following a safe driving route. It took them past some of the worst damage.

Comfort food and connections

The comfort food has temporarily eased the stress for employees dealing with a range of losses. In the worst cases, employees have lost loved ones, but more commonly, homes and cars.

In addition to feeding employees breakfast, lunch and dinner, Janine is referring many people to the Employee Assistance Plan (EAP).

"Everyone has a story," she said. "A lot of my employees have lost everything. The people who are dry and safe feel guilty. They're all struggling."