WOBURN (CBS) – When thousands of Market Basket workers hit the streets during the summer of 2014, Jen Gelvez was with them. It was a time the Woburn resident describes as “gut-wrenching.”
Through it all, she also kept working in the Reading store’s office. Like many employees at the supermarket chain, she was intensely loyal to owner Arthur T. Demoulas, as he fought to retake control of his family’s business.
“It’s really a great place to work,” Gelvez said.
For her, it is also pretty much the only place; she started working at Market Basket as a cashier when she was 14-years-old. And every year for the past quarter of a century, like all of her co-workers, she has gotten a Christmas bonus.
But this year, even with the man they call “Artie T.” back at the helm, things were unsettled.
“I wasn’t too sure with what was going on in the summer, with the company going into debt,” Gelvez explains. “I didn’t expect [a Christmas bonus] at all. I was just thankful to have a job.”
But for the divorced mother of two girls, that bonus is Christmas. So when her store manager showed up Tuesday morning bearing bonus checks from Mr. Demoulas, Gelvez almost couldn’t believe it.
“To actually receive a Christmas bonus this year was amazing,” she said.
The check came with another annual tradition.
“Mr. Demoulas writes a beautiful letter every year that each employee gets,” Gelvez said. “I almost cried when I read it this year.”
Part of that letter reads: “The only way our company is able to provide these most-deserved bonus checks is because you, your fellow associates, and our customers had the courage to preserve and protect the culture of this company.”
Gelvez tears up when she thinks about how lucky she is to work at Market Basket. For her boss, she says only: “I just want to thank him. For everything that he did. That’s all.”
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