Earlier this month, Shauna Hall pullsled into the parking lot of a Chick-fil-A in Fredericksburg, VA. As she helped her young son out of the van, her phone fell.

And bounced.

And disappeared into a storm drain.

In a panic, she lay on the ground to peer into the small horizontal slot, hoping to spot the phone she had "finally" just paid off (and purchased a new Otterbox for two days prior.)

Nope.

"About to puke and cry," she rushed inside the Chick-fil-A. A manager is friendly and sympathetic but unsure how to help. Another employee steps forward, offering to use a grab stick and a mirror. Seth Ratliff goes outside, lays on the ground, and peers inside the drain.

Nope. Evidently her phone has fallen into the large drainage hole at the center of the storm drain. 

Shauna and Seth headed back inside to call the county sewer department for help. They hang up on him.

Shauna? She's ready to give up.

Seth is not.

He suggests they go back outside and use his phone to call hers to see if they can hear it. But before they do, they notice the manhole cover on top of the drain is not bolted down.

So Seth removed the cover, disappeared into the drain... and emerged, dirty and dripping, with her phone.

"I was so thankful I freaking hugged him," Shauna wrote in a Facebook post. "Not only did he slice his finger (while lifting the manhole cover) and was filthy from laying on the ground and climbing in the hole, I find out he had actually just gotten off shift and was still willing to help me."

Shown in the photo is Seth; he asked Shauna to take a picture of him so he could "show his girlfriend what he did at work that day."

"I wasn't going to stop until I got her phone back," Seth said. "She was so upset seeing as her whole life was on that phone." 

Clearly diving into a storm drain isn't a part of Seth's job description. And even though many job descriptions include the caveat "and other duties as assigned," it's unlikely any manager would ask an employee to do so.

Especially since, while the issue occurred on Chick-fil-A property, the company clearly bore no responsibility. 

Dropping a phone into a storm drain? That falls into the "(stuff) happens" category.

Even so, Seth decided to help. And the store was clearly willing to let him help.

Because sometimes doing the right thing means doing something that isn't on a job description. 

Which sometimes means allowing an employees to do something that isn't on his or her job description -- because it will make a huge difference in another person's life.

Which is the kind of company culture every company -- and every entrepreneur -- hopes to build.

Published on: Oct 14, 2019
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