Deanna, a shift supervisor at The Coffee Bean, was recently given the task of training up a new barista named Mick. And a TV crew followed the pair as Deanna did her best to show Mick the ropes.
Unfortunately, Mick’s coffee-making skills weren’t impressive, but Deanna didn’t complain. Instead, she handed out gift cards to customers he had kept waiting as he fumbled over the coffee machine. Despite Mick’s obvious shortcomings, though, Deanna remained impeccably polite towards him throughout.
Later, Deanna and Mick were filmed taking a break from training and having a chat in a back room of the coffee shop. Before long Deanna started to open up about her background, and she revealed a lot about her life. In spite of the outward sense of calm she displayed previously, it turned out that her life was in turmoil.
She began opening up to Mick about her difficult past. Deanna started off by discussing how she had dropped out of school. And she then went on to reveal that she later overcame a drug addiction. It was The Coffee Bean, and a new job, that gave her a new start.
But there was even more to her sad story. Not only was Deanna a single mom to two kids, but she had also just lost her father to cancer. And now she was suffering from liver cancer herself.
Deanna admitted to Mick, “I don’t really have too much education.” She went on to tell him that coming to work at The Coffee Bean keeps her spirits high. “I want to make somebody’s day. Because that turns around and makes my day,” she said.
Mick asked her if she would ever consider going back to school, at which point Deanna broke down. In tears she told Mick that she would prefer it if her kids could go to college. He seemed to be moved by her selfless attitude.
During their emotional conversation, Deanna told Mick, “I’d rather put all my energy into my kids.” At this point Deanna was still unaware of who Mick, the new “trainee”, really was. But she was about to find out.
“Mick” was not really called Mick at all. His real name was John Fuller, and he was not actually a trainee barista, which helped to explain why he was so bad at making coffee. Fuller was, in fact, the CEO of The Coffee Bean chain in Los Angeles.
As part of the TV show Undercover Boss, Fuller had posed as a new employee in order to get closer to his staff. And his ploy had worked. Deanna had completely opened up to him.
That ploy, moreover, followed in the wake of similar ruses by the CBS reality show. As the name suggests, the series follows company heads as they go incognito within their own businesses to see what their employees do on a day-to-day basis. And if workers turn out to go above and beyond the call of duty, there’s often a reward in store for them for their diligence.
Deanna’s story, then, would be broadcast to the entire nation in the show’s eighth season. And the millions of viewers it would reach couldn’t fail to be touched by her heartbreaking story.
As for how Fuller managed to escape Deanna’s notice all this time? Well, the makeover he was given before he was sent in to shadow Deanna would have helped. For this, his short hair was replaced with a long, graying wig. His clothes, too, were replaced with a casual plaid shirt, T-shirt and jeans. Then a baseball cap was added to the look for good measure.
All this time, though, Deanna had no idea who she was speaking to. But after her emotional reveal, Fuller had one of his own – he wasn’t a mere trainee for The Coffee Bean, but its CEO. And, naturally, this came as quite a shock to the shift supervisor. More surprises were just around the corner, however…
When the pair met again after Fuller’s revelation, he told Deanna that he wanted to help her on the way to finally receiving a high school diploma. And, to give her some encouragement, he added that he would give her $10,000 upon its completion.
But Fuller’s generosity didn’t end there. He also pledged $20,000 towards Deanna’s medical bills, since she had previously admitted to him that she was struggling to keep herself afloat.
And that wasn’t all, either, as Fuller had one more thing up his sleeve. He revealed to the grateful Deanna that she had started a college fund of $20,000 for each of her children. That made it a $40,000 donation in total.
Understandably, Deanna was stunned by Fuller’s kindness and, in particular, by his final gesture for her children. Through tears she thanked the CEO, adding, “That will help them both so much. Having both of my kids be able to go to college, that’s a gift that I never thought I would be able to give them.”
And Deanna would go on to say that The Coffee Bean had “saved her life” twice: firstly by giving her a job in the first place, then again through Fuller’s generous donations. Finally, after Deanna had taken in Fuller’s incredible news, the two shared a hug – and then parted ways again.
Hopefully, then, Fuller’s big-hearted gestures will see Deanna’s life finally change for the better. And she’s also probably glad that she won’t ever have to train up bumbling barista “Mick” ever again.