Former cashier Peter Judge was often the last face shoppers saw before they left his supermarket in Phoenix. He always wanted to be the reason people came back.
“He really likes interacting with people, approaching situations with empathy and humility and bringing a smile to people's faces,” his only son, Patrick McCarthy, told USA TODAY.
When customers return to WinCo Foods, Judge won't be there to greet them. Despite his record as a “stellar employee,” Judge was fired last month, said McCarthy, who lives in Woodinville, Washington, near Seattle.
Judge's job operated on a points system, and he had accrued too many. Judge walked and relied on public transportation to get to work, which sometimes put him behind schedule, McCarthy said.
“If the lights didn't work in his favor crossing the street, he'd be maybe five or 10 minutes late,” he said.
Judge’s days off a few weeks before he was fired had apparently put him over his points level, according to McCarthy.
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The son wanted to help his father out. He turned to his LinkedIn network to let everyone know that Judge, who didn’t have a profile at the time, was open to work.
“I’m excited for his next step,” McCarthy wrote in his post, which has gone viral with nearly 20,000 reactions. “This guy is someone you want on your team.”
McCarthy, a husband and father of 3-year-old and 9-month-old sons, can relate to losing his job: The marketing and communications professional was laid off last month from online course provider Coursera.
He says he’s also aware of “the power of LinkedIn” when it comes to rallying around others navigating "this very weird time of layoffs” at several companies.
But McCarthy said he and his family have never been on the receiving end of such an outpouring of support until now.
“It’s a shock,” said McCarthy, 31.
Hundreds of people replied to his LinkedIn post, in which he described his father as an experienced service industry worker who loved his job.
“He loves seeing customers seek out his lane for check-ins and updates,” McCarthy wrote. “He said to me, ‘I’m good at this stuff.’”
McCarthy shared with his network of more than 500 connections that, as anyone would be, his father was "shocked, overwhelmed (and) emotional" after losing the job he'd enjoyed for almost four years.
Replies ranged from advice on where Judge could search for his next role to praise for McCarthy’s honest and thoughtful post supporting his father.
Even LinkedIn's own LinkedIn page responded to McCarthy's post.
"Pete sounds like a top-tier employee! Keep us posted as he progresses on his journey," the company's post read.
'Incalculable amounts of support'
The unexpected popularity has blown Judge away.
“The post itself was incredibly written, and I think that's what touched people,” he said.
In the two weeks since the post went viral, Judge has spoken with several companies about possible opportunities, according to McCarthy.
“The abundant replies, views and support (were) a lot to fathom,” Judge said. “I've never been in any situation before where I lost a job, and within days, had incalculable amounts of support from people I don't even know.”
McCarthy’s father has since started his own LinkedIn account as he seeks the perfect next opportunity.
“He's trying to sift through all of this and figure out what his next move is,” McCarthy said.
The job search hasn’t come without its challenges. Judge’s years-old computer often freezes and “barely works,” McCarthy said.
“My biggest hurdle with this job search is transportation, since I rely on my feet and public transportation,” Judge said.
Still, he continues to look for a job where his people skills will be valued.
“The most important aspect of my next role is for it to be something that I truly enjoy,” Judge said. “I think I want to be interacting with people face-to-face, since that is what I love most and where I feel I can have the most impact.”
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Son's LinkedIn post about recently fired father goes viral: Good News