What a reward

Cook at Pittsburgh Steelers' headquarters given car in recognition of good customer service.

Why is good customer service important? Well, in addition to the obvious benefits that happier customers return more frequently and tend to spend more money, you never know when a loyal customer will reward you in ways you couldn’t imagine in your biggest fantasies.

Maurice Mathews, a cook at the Pittsburgh Steelers corporate offices and training facility on Pittsburgh’s South Side, learned the value of good customer relations when Ray Horton, the Steelers’ secondary coach, left to take a job with the Arizona Cardinals. According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mathews had been friendly with Horton and often joked about how much he’d love to drive the coach’s 1999 Mercedes SL 500 convertible.

Horton left the team in February but returned to Pittsburgh recently to pick up some possessions he had left behind. He walked into the Steelers’ cafeteria, which is managed by Parkhurst Dining Services, and approached Mathews. According to the story, Horton told the cook he’d lost his wallet and wanted to borrow some money. Mathews reached into his pocket and gave Horton $20. In return, Horton tossed Mathews the keys to the Mercedes.

“You take care of people who take care of you, whether it's your family or friends," Horton was quoted as saying in explaining why he gave the car to Mathews. "You take care of good people."

The Mercedes, which reportedly has 64,000 miles on it, has a "Blue Book" value of more than $17,000. Even assuming Mathews is liable for the taxes on the car’s true value, it would still be a steal at about $1,100. And all because a cook made friends with a customer.

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