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Dairy Queen Worker Steps Up When Customer Turns Thief

The old adage that claims the customer is “always right” took a beating at a Minnesota Dairy Queen. Fortunately, a young manager was there to do the right thing when a customer did a very wrong thing.

A teenage Dairy Queen in Minneapolis refused to serve a customer and the incident went viral in a big way this week.

It started when a regular customer who’s visually impaired dropped a $20 and didn’t realize it. Before the employee could alert him, he says another customer picked up the bill. But rather than return the bill to the man who dropped it, she shoved it in her purse.

When it was her turn to order, the Dairy Queen employee, Joey Prusak asked her to return the money, but she refused. What he told her, in almost any other circumstance and in any other business on the planet, might well have gotten him fired:

“Please return the $20 or get out of the store, because I’m not going to serve someone as disrespectful as you.”

But this 19-year-old went one step further after the accused thief stormed out of the store without her Blizzard: he went up to the regular customer who was still unaware that he’d lost the money, and Prusak then gave the man $20 out of his own pocket.

This unusual situation and the good deed that came out of it would surely have gone unnoticed except for one thing: a customer who observed the whole situation was moved enough by it to write an email to Diary Queen’s corporate office.

That email wound up online and since then, the phone has been ringing with people congratulating the teen on his kind gesture. Some have reportedly even offered him jobs.

Oh, and then there’s that call from Warren Buffet.

Yes, that Warren Buffet. The man who could drop $20 bills all day long and never even notice. Buffet is chairman, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, of which Dairy Queen International is a subsidiary. Buffet himself called Prusak to congratulate him for doing the right thing. But that was only the beginning, apparently.

Customers have been showing up to congratulate the young man, and some have even been bringing in cash for his college fund. (In one interview, he says he plans to donate money given to him to charity.

Then there’s Glenn Beck, who had Prusak on his radio, offered to buy a Dairy Queen location that Prusak would manage.


This guy definitely deserves recognition for his good deed. And whoever stole that twenty bucks deserves a different kind of recognition, particularly of the mugshot variety.

I’m glad Dairy Queen and its owner recognize the value of what this employee did, and are standing behind him rather than condemning his actions. It makes me want to visit one. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Your Turn:

If there were a business with an employee who made this kind of gesture and was celebrated by his management for doing so, would you be any more likely to patronize that establishment, even if it were a bit out of your way?


  1. What an awesome, feel-good story! So glad I read this. Just made my day! And YES, to answer your question, my hubz and I do go out of our way to visit establishments where we have been treated exceptionally well, and we always let management know about the good service we receive. I figure I’m the first to complain when stuff is rotten, so I should be equally enthusiastic about sharing praise. Thanks for bringing this story to my attention! 🙂

  2. brandacumen patricksplace That’s right! “You’re always on a job interview” is #custserv law my wife Jane taught me 😉

  3. tedcoine patricksplace It’s always awesome when good deeds get noticed, even better when your good deed inadvertently secures your future!

  4. I think I would be more likely to want to do business with people like that – though I avoid Dairy Queen and other such establishments most of the time.  I watch my calories and I don’t like to use them on sweets very often.  I might consider a small Blizzard as a treat now and then, though, especially now that I know what a class act they are!

  5. SuziShumaker patricksplace Lovely story in a world of so many bad one’s about teens. That cost him 3 hours work after taxes people!

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.