Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price took a salary cut from $1.1 million to $70,000 last April, allowing him to pay every employee at least $70,000 a year. Now his employees have pulled an impressive stunt to thank him. 

The Seattle-based payments processing company announced on its Facebook page today that it had gifted Price a Tesla Model S.

"This was a special way for us all to thank him for all of the sacrifices he's made and challenges he's faced for each of us. Through all of the successes and challenges of the past year, Dan has never once put himself first," read the post, which includes a video of Price accepting the surprise gift.

The gift comes after a judge ruled in favor of the CEO in a lawsuit brought against him by his brother. Lucas Price, a co-founder of Gravity Payments, had accused Dan of paying himself too high of a salary and violating Lucas's minority shareholder rights. He sought dissolution of the company or a forced sale.

Responding to the surprise, Price wrote his own Facebook post: 

The idea came in part from Alyssa O'Neal, who says in the video she is on the Seattle company's support team and has been with Gravity for two years and four months. O'Neal is a 24-year-old single mother and "one of the people who was most impacted by Dan's $70k minimum wage decision," the company said.

Speaking before presenting the gift to her boss, O'Neal expresses that she's a little nervous.

"He might not know how to take it," she says in the video. "He might be concerned about what some people outside of Gravity are going to say."

He takes it pretty well--smiling, laughing, and even crying a little as he hugs his employees and thanks them. Between the car and a $500,000 book deal, it looks like there's some payoff beyond feel-good vibes from Price cutting his salary so drastically. 

Let's just hope he's careful with the car's Autopilot feature, which Consumer Reports just said should be disabled.

Published on: Jul 15, 2016