'We wanted to show our gratitude by giving these individuals something memorable and unique'
Volkswagen Canada pulled off a surprise for 18 essential service workers recently, presenting them with gifts that ranged from a cottage weekend in Muskoka, Ont. to a wellness retreat in the Laurentians in Quebec to a paddleboarding adventure in Kelowna, B.C.
In the third installment of its annual “Volksgiving” initiative, the company called on Canadian Volkswagen owners to nominate essential service workers who faced personal sacrifice to take care of their fellow Canadians. The company received more than 1,100 submissions, ranging from flight paramedics, to nurses, deafblind intervenors, retirement home staff and retail stockers.
"Many Canadians have experienced the selfless, heroic acts our essential workers fulfill every day to keep us healthy, safe and cared for," says Lynne Piette, director of marketing, Volkswagen Canada. "As members of the community and Volkswagen family, we wanted to show our gratitude by giving these individuals something memorable and unique."
Amid the pandemic, healthcare workers could suffer from moral injury, an issue that’s like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), says one expert.
Those selected by Volkswagen were told they were being interviewed as part of a film about essential workers.
“Nurses, we didn't sign up necessarily for a pandemic. But I knew my place, I knew what I needed to do,” said Amanda M., a registered nurse.
“When somebody tested positive close to the retirement home, I knew that’s when I had to stay at the retirement home for the safety of the residents and my mother and father,” said Edwards M., a retirement home dietary staff.
“As a personal support worker, we’re the frontline, we’re the front of everything,” said Beverly G. “Am I sacred? Yeah, sometimes. Do I show my clients that I’m scared? No. I just put it in the back of my head, knowing that I’m making them safe as much as I’m making myself safe.”
Messages of gratitude and recognition from friends, family members and co-workers were also conveyed to the participants, and Volkswagen gave them each a personalized letter and special gift.
Previously, Sunwing said it was giving 100 frontline employees free, all-inclusive vacations to honour their efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.