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The Man in the Shop

Posted by Danielle on

It was my second week of work. A man came into our shop--dusty work coat, roughly trimmed beard, tough bleached jeans--and walked up to the counter. My two other coworkers were hard at work, so it was up to me to help him out. I may not have known much about how to make awards yet, but I knew how to be nice to people! So, I walked up to the counter, smiled, said “Hi!” and waited.

He proceeded to tell me about a stellar employee of his, one of those who hadn’t ever missed a day of work, did overtime when needed, and labored to the best of his ability. He was also an employee who was about to retire. So with pride, yet sadness, the man in the shop explained that he wanted something to show his employee the appreciation he deserved.

He first noticed an engraved hammer attached to a plaque on our wall and thought that might be the ticket, but he wanted something bigger, grander.

I decided to give him a tour. I’m not afraid to say I was playing it off like I knew things I didn’t. Although, I did mention that I was new and might not have the expertise he was looking for. But I was determined. I showed him plaques and trophies and acrylic awards and resins while we made small talk.

But then, what did his eyes behold but a nearly two-foot-tall column trophy. This was it. The item. The largest trophy he could muster for his beloved employee. But how to customize it? What topper to embellish it with? To the catalogs we went, flipping through pages and pages of potential toppers. Unfortunately, most of what we saw were for sports. We needed something for construction.

“What about a hammer on top?” I suggested. His eyes lit up. “I think that’ll do it!” he exclaimed. So now we game-planned.

Pick out the base. Check. Choose the ornaments. Check. Buy a hammer. Check. Decide on a plate engraving. Check. Engrave the hammer. Check. Attach the hammer to the base… That was harder than we thought it would be. But, eventually, with glue, a screw, and patience, check.

The finished product:


Over three feet of delicious wood, metal, and plastic made for an appreciated employee at his time of retirement. Happy sigh. These are the stories that make my job fun.

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