Company Gives Employee Gift He Won’t Forget

December 21st, 2016 by Katherine Coig

It’s the season of giving, and Absolute Perfection Window Tinting (AP) in Sykesville, Md., made sure to give one of its employees a holiday season he’s sure to never forget: a chance to be reunited with his mother whom he hasn’t seen in a decade.

Elias Castellanos holding his “AP Award.”

“Think about the feeling you get when you see others care for someone else,” says Bill Valway, CEO, as he tries to convey the emotion that filled the company’s holiday party. But Valway takes no credit for the gesture; he says the idea came solely from Brett Perry, AP’s newest installer, and the generosity of his employees.

It all started in October when Elias Castellanos, a three-year installer at AP, mentioned to Perry that he hadn’t seen his mom since 2007. “I work with Elias a lot, and I was just getting to know him when he mentioned that to me,” says Perry. Castellanos is originally from Mexico, where his mom currently lives, so affording the trip was difficult, especially since he has a young daughter to care for.

“Brett came to me and told me that Elias hasn’t seen his mom in almost ten years, and that she’s never met his six year-old daughter. He asked if there was anything we could do as a company to help him,” says Valway. “Most of us get the luxury of seeing our family whenever we want, and it’s not every day you stop to think that the people around you may not have that opportunity.”

After explaining the situation to Valway, the pair concluded that they’d send an email throughout the company telling Castellanos’s story, and whatever amount of money was donated by the AP staff, the company would match.

“We had an overwhelming response,” Valway says. “Our employees donated around $900 in cash in just three days; one person even gave $200.” He adds that two of his employees, Becky and Christie, also bought Castellanos and his daughter luggage. Together, the company was able to collect $1000 for Southwest Airlines, $500 for, along with the luggage.

Perry surprised Castellanos with the gifts at the company’s holiday party and, according to Valway, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. “Elias is just such an awesome guy. He always wants to help others; he works seven days a week, so being able to do this for him meant a lot to all of us,” he says. “This was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of. And if it wasn’t for Brett, none of this would have happened.”

And Perry agrees, “I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and this was by far the biggest accomplishment I’ve achieved.”

As for Elias, he says he feels lucky to work for such a great company, and that he and his daughter are excited for their upcoming trip. “My daughter is so happy. She’s asked me many times where her grandmother lives and when she can visit her,” he says. Though Castellanos was surprised with the company’s gift, he says he can’t quite surprise his mom the same way. “I cannot surprise her due to her old age,” he laughs.

But all jokes aside, Castellanos emphasizes, “I will never forget about this. The great work my colleagues put into this, I want to thank everyone, especially Brett for the idea, and Bill and Tim for trusting me.”

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  1. Dear AP Staff,

    This is such a wonderful story. This says a lot about your company and employees. With that said, this is what teamwork and life should be all about. God bless Elias and your entire staff.

    Merry Christmas,
    Rick Hutchins
    LLumar Account Manager
    South, TX

  2. Words cannot express the wonder of the Christmas gift, great job and God bless you all this Christmas.

  3. Absolute Perfection is, by far, the best company I have ever worked for! I’m proud to be a part of this awesome organization, and it is so heart-warming to see all of my co-workers come together for Elias.

  4. Life is about not only taking but also giving. Well done what a beautiful story.Leon Levy Klingshield South Africa

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