The self storage industry is in the business of providing people with a much needed commodity—space. It doesn’t sell furniture (outside of auctions of course). You can’t get a five-star dinner served to you at a self storage facility. What you can get is space–which should make the job of employees pretty cut and dry, right?
Well—only if they want it to be.
Recently one StorageMart employee, Robert Raybuck, was cleaning out an abandoned unit. It’s a common task that he has and normally all he has to do is sweep whatever it is in to the garbage and be done with it. On this one occasion he did not do that.
When he opened a unit and found nothing but a single box curiosity got the better of him and he poked around inside. Upon examination he discovered a couple of commendations for a U.S. Army Private Richard Ferris from World War II.
These were not just any commendations though. Private Ferris was awarded a Purple Heart and Distinguished Cross Award for extraordinary heroism in combat. They came from his actions during the Allied invasion of Italy known as Operation Avalanche.
His job was to provide cover fire via his machine gun as troops landed on the beach behind him. In the process he took out a pair of enemy machine gun emplacements as well as four tanks. During the course of the battle he was injured, but received treatment and returned to his post where he was killed in action.
So here Raybuck is with a box of things that someone left behind. Considering what they are you would think that the owner left them by accident; it happens. Something that important does not get left behind on purpose.
What does he do? Leave them in the front office in case anyone comes looking? Put a sign in the front window in case anyone knows someone? He’s not legally bound to do anything. He could just toss the box and be done with the whole mess.
Or he could get in contact with an organization called Purple Hearts Reunited, a group that finds the owner of or family of medal recipients.
Customer service examples like this are not unusual in the self storage industry. They may not always involve items of historical significance to the world, but are of significance to the owner of said item(s). Whatever they may be the important thing is the customer is happy.
“Purple Heart, Distinguished Service Cross Found in Florida Storage Unit.” StorageMart; 27 June 2014.
“Self Storage Manager Goes Above and Beyond to Provide Excellent Customer Service.” Self Storage Industry News; 30 June 2014.