On Friday night’s episode of “Undercover Boss,” Toby Bost, the CEO of “O’Neill Clothing” went undercover as a game show participant. O’Neill is an action sports company, specializing in apparel and accessories for the lover of action sports. His father is on orthopedic surgeon and rather than following in his father’s footsteps, he chose action sports as his niche and has been CEO for six years.
Today he is Frederick, a guy having a mid-life crisis that wants to open a surf shop. He is at the outlet store in Commerce, Calif. to meet with Jesus, who has been there about three months. More like a Jeff Spicoli surfer dude type, not a worker type, who had his own agenda. He badmouthed the clothing in earshot of the customers and admitted he smoked weed and could score him some good stuff. He asked Frederick if he thought about opening a pot dispensary? This guy was bad for business, but he came from a broken home, and he felt sorry for him.
He went to Compton, the next day to meet with Jorge, a screen-printer who makes the shirt logos for O’Neill. The instructions are not always clear because the designers are not specific enough; a problem that will be dealt with in the future. Jorge is a good hard worker and knows his stuff. Jorge has a child who is very ill, and he also has five other children. They talked about their families with each other. He loves the company, and Frederick told him how valuable he was.
The next day, he tried his skills on the sales floor in Anaheim, at the flagship store. He met with Desiree, who showed him how to make the stock appealing to the customers. She had her own ideas, but did not have any company guidelines from the merchandising team. As a back-to-school promotion, she had associates wear backpacks, and they sold very well. She has some good ideas, but does not think Frederick is the type to own this type of store. She is a single mother going through a divorce and a dedicated worker.
At the last stop at Commerce, he was sent to see Mike, a stock boy. He did not expect what he saw in Frederick. He showed him how to scan the items, but had concerns about Frederick. He told him that he was homeless for about a year after he graduated from high school. He supports his mother and two younger siblings. He wants to go back to school, but it is difficult because his mother is out of work. He hit Frederick’s heart, the same way Jorge did.
The meeting with his workers was an eye-opening experience. When he questioned Jesus, who asked if he was fired? Toby told him no, but he would not let him off the hook either. He saw himself in Jesus at twenty-three. He would fly him to Irvine to work at corporate to learn etiquette from human resources. He needed fatherly advice; something his life lacked and looked to Toby as a mentor.
Meeting Mike was a great experience. Because of Mike, he is working on a new computer system to further help stock workers. He also set up a crisis fund for families of workers in need. He expressed how happy he was that Mike found a home at O’Neill and gave him a $10,000 bonus for him and when he is ready to go back to school, there will be $40,000 waiting for him. Mike wanted to cry and was in shock that someone cared so much for him.
Desiree was next; he thought she was a genius to have reps wear a backpack around the store. He appreciated her motivational skills. He sent her and her daughter to an all-expenses paid trip to the theme parks, paid her rent for a year, and gave her a $20,000 bonus to help her with her needs for her daughter. The tears were real, and her heart was gladdened by his generosity.
When he met with Jorge, he was so grateful for his dedication. He found out that the instructions sent with the shirts was incorrect, and that he was doing their job for them. He spoke to Jorge’s boss who is giving him a raise and increasing his benefits. He has been looking out for O’Neill, now it is their turn to look out for him; they gave him $40,000 to help his family. When Jorge told his wife, she was also in tears and forever grateful.
In the weeks following Toby’s appearance, Jesus booked his trip to corporate headquarters, and is so motivated that he has considered quitting smoking. Desiree could pay off her bills and throw her daughter the birthday of her dreams. Michael helped his family and enrolled in school to study psychology. Because of the raise, Jorge could buy braces for his daughter’s legs and is looking forward to seeing her take her first steps in their new home; all thanks to the kind heart of an “Undercover Boss.”