The boss of a North Carolina restaurant treated 20 of her employees and their loved ones — 53 people in total — to an all-expenses paid trip to Disney World last week.
Gypsy Gilliam, owner of the State Farmers’ Market Restaurant in Raleigh, said she wanted to do something special for her hardworking staffers and a road trip to the Orlando amusement park seemed perfect.
“It’s such a happy, magical place for me,” Gilliam told The News & Observer Thursday. “I just wanted to do something special for them.”
The idea first came about last fall after a busy week working the North Carolina State Fair. Looking at one of her tired cooks, Gilliam casually said,” We just need to go to Disney.”
It was not long before the offhand remark became the talk of the kitchen but it remained a rumor until Christmas, when Gilliam called her staff into a meeting to announce the trip.
“They have blessed me beyond belief and I wanted to give them and their families an opportunity to enjoy something that they may otherwise not have the chance to do,” Gilliam told Yahoo Lifestyle. When she made the announcement, her staff could not believe it.
“The emotions in the room were what you would imagine — lots of happiness, tears, crazy dancing and excitement,” Gilliam said.
On Feb. 25, Gilliam closed the restaurant and set off on a bus with her 20 employees and their families for the eight-hour journey to Disneyland. For many on that bus, it was their first time to the magical amusement park. Gilliam said it was priceless to see the “sheer delight on the faces of the adults and the absolute joy of the kids was priceless,” the News & Observer noted.
“Having a restaurant where the team is your extended family is priceless,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle. “The togetherness and caring that we all share, well it’s me who is the lucky one, having a team like this where we just enjoy coming to work.”
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