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Minnesota Dairy Queen manager's good deed gets attention

By Amy Forliti

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:42 a.m. HST, Sep 20, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS >> Joey Prusak was appalled when he saw a customer at the suburban Minneapolis Dairy Queen store where he works pick up someone else's $20 bill and slip it into her purse.

So when the woman got up to the counter to order, Prusak refused to serve her unless she returned the money. When the woman refused, the 19-year-old store manager went a step further: He gave the visually impaired customer who hadn't realized he'd dropped the money $20 out of his own pocket.

"I was just doing what I thought was right," Prusak said Thursday as he recalled the incident from earlier this month. "I did it without even really thinking about it. ... Ninety-nine out of 100 people would've done the same thing as me."

Even so, Prusak has received loads of praise since a customer's email about him to Dairy Queen was posted online.

Now, people are calling the store, thanking Prusak and even offering him jobs. Customer traffic at the Hopkins Dairy Queen has doubled, and many people are leaving large tips -- money that Prusak says he will donate to charity.

Prusak said he even got a call Thursday from billionaire Warren Buffett, whose company owns Dairy Queen. "He called and thanked me for being a role model for all the other employees and people in general," Prusak said.

Prusak has worked at the Hopkins Dairy Queen since he was 14. He's trying to save money to go to school for business management and has managed the store since the spring.

The visually impaired customer who dropped the money during the Sept. 10 lunch rush was a regular. Prusak said he thought the woman who picked up the $20 bill would return it. Instead, she looked at the man, then put the cash in her purse.

"I was appalled," Prusak said. "I didn't know what to do or say."

Prusak thought for a moment, and when the woman approached the window, he asked her to return the money. But she claimed it was hers. The conversation went back and forth. Finally, Prusak recalled, he told the woman: "Please return the $20 or get out of the store, because I'm not going to serve someone as disrespectful as you."

Prusak said the woman stormed out, and he served the other customers. He then went over to the man eating his sundae and gave him $20. Prusak didn't tell anyone about it, other than the other employee in the store.

But another customer saw the incident and sent an email to Dairy Queen. The email was forwarded to store owner Dave Pettit, who posted it at the store. Another employee took a picture, which has been circulating online.

Dean Peters, a spokesman for International Dairy Queen, said the company is figuring out how to reward Prusak.

Prusak said when he saw what happened, he just couldn't keep quiet.

"I was going to say something no matter what," he said. "If she would have returned the money, then I would have served her."

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MolokaiChuck wrote:
AMEN Brother!
on September 20,2013 | 03:51AM
serious wrote:
Good story. There are considerate people in this world.
on September 20,2013 | 03:54AM
Steve96785 wrote:
Dairy Queen should provide him a scholarship to earn his MBA, and then hire him to be their director of ethics.
on September 20,2013 | 05:08AM
I'll bet ya Mr Buffet has the same idea in mind. It is only a matter of time. Good one!
on September 20,2013 | 10:02AM
JnS wrote:
Great idea...he is the type of employee companies should be hiring.
on September 20,2013 | 12:25PM
onevoice82 wrote:
Very refreshing story!
on September 20,2013 | 05:10AM
wizard417 wrote:
on September 20,2013 | 05:50AM
ricekidd wrote:
on September 20,2013 | 07:10AM
Mrs_G wrote:
A nice way to start the day. Good story!
on September 20,2013 | 06:37AM
50skane wrote:
Sure could use more young people with honor like him in this world.
on September 20,2013 | 07:16AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
IRT 50, agree. There ARE people young and old like him worldwide. Like you said, we could always use more.
on September 20,2013 | 08:01AM
paniolo wrote:
You get some good people in this world, like the homeless guy that found a backpack with over $40,000 and turned it in to police. And you have some not so good people, like the lady who took the $20 from the man. No worry lady, you going get bachi. Wait til you get into some bad situation and see if anybody going help you. As for Joey Prusak, I also commend you for what you did. You have a good heart and you'll get good things happen to you in the future. I'm just glad that a customer saw what happened and notified Dairy Queen. Hey Warren Buffet, how about paying for his college education so he can go higher in Dairy Queen management. He deserves it.
on September 20,2013 | 08:10AM
MC96816 wrote:
That is Minnesota aloha!
on September 20,2013 | 08:32AM
Anonymous wrote:
He's been working since 14! He is working his way through school and earning every bit of it himself. Good work ethic, good values, good person. If you are reading this kid, when you get your MBA, visit Hawaii give us a call and you have a job! A lot of kids in Hawaii should look at him as a role model. If Warren Buffet is smart, and I know he is, I think he has a future business executive on his payroll now.
on September 20,2013 | 09:41AM
wn wrote:
It feels good to finally have a hero we can look up to...it warms the heart to know that there are still people especially someone so young and yet so ethically sound and mature. A good role model for many to follow. I believe Warren Buffet will find a way to take care of his education and perhaps an internship. He sees the value this young man can provide Society. Got to cultivate the good ones...he already has the "right stuff!"
on September 20,2013 | 09:53AM
copperwire9 wrote:
How cool, for at least 2 reasons: 1) he's a really good guy, and deserves the praise and notice he's been given, and 2) allie hasn't posted a snarky message here! Can world peace be far behind?
on September 20,2013 | 10:10AM
Mahalo wrote:
Well Dairy Queen do what they do on the undercover boss show... Give this guy a scholarship to business school and then hire him in corporate..
on September 20,2013 | 02:07PM
suzyq47 wrote:
Nice job Prusak! Way to go!
on September 20,2013 | 02:23PM
jkll999 wrote:
Where can I send my $20 towards his education?
on September 20,2013 | 03:25PM
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