Panera Blues II

Photo on 5-14-14 at 6.20 PM

Back one month ago, I wrote a blog post about Anthony, the awesome, dazzling, fantastic, cool-as-ice Panera manager who busted his way up the ladder, only to have the company take a big fat dump on decency and ambition.

I hated the way Anthony was treated. He is, truly, one of the most gentle and decent guys I’ve ever met, and one customer after another praised his hands-on approach, his understanding of the young worker, his willingness to help and please the customer.

I digress. As I write this I’m sitting in the White Plains Panera, where Anthony now works. He no longer holds the same title—but he holds the exact same awesomeness. People love him here. He’s cool, engaging, positive. I told him about the original blog post, and he thanked me—but also reassured me he’s happy. “I’ll always love working with people,” he said. “That’s the No. 1 thing for me. I won’t stop smiling.”

Honestly, I wish there were more Anthony in Jeff. I whine, I mope, I complain, I rip. The smallest slight can get me in a tizzy.

Again, I digress. Panera, if you’re reading this, do your most loyal customer a favor and treat Anthony rightly. He’s your best employee—I assure you. And if I were starting a coffee shop, or a restaurant, or a diner, or any sort of business that involved pleasing large swaths of consumers, I’d hire him in a second, triple his pay and kick your sandwich-making butt.

PS: And while we’re at it. Sabrina, here in White Plains. A gem of gems.

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