Like most things in life, the best PR is free and in the instance I’m about to reference, probably completely unintended.
Aldi was in the news this weekend for all the right reasons because it just so happens to have an incredibly lovely member of staff.
Much is made of teenagers being miserable, unhelpful and generally unpleasant to others in society, particularly the older generation, but not 18-year-old Christian Trousedale, who has become an internet sensation overnight thanks to one, simple act of kindness.
Stock assistant Christian made headlines after walking a 96-year-old shopper home. After spotting the elderly gent, who was about to make his way home, alone, and in strong winds, Christian asked his superiors if he could offer a helping hand.
They agreed, of course, otherwise I wouldn’t be sat here writing about it.
Samantha-Jayne Brady saw the pair walking along and decided to take a photo, which she then shared on Facebook. At the time of writing this, it has been ‘liked’ a quarter of a million times and shared by 70,000 people.
There are several lovely things about this story so let’s start with those.
In terms of PR, Aldi have come out of this very, very well. The management at the store in Horwich, near Bolton, let a member of staff leave the premises during his shift without consideration for rotas and schedules, because they recognised the selflessness of his act. As a PR agency, we are forever espousing the benefits of appearing personable, especially in terms of social media. People respond to people and the managers of that store in Horwich have definitely shown themselves to be the very best type of people rather than merely a faceless corporation.
They also sent a bottle of wine and a bunch of flowers to Miss Brady for sharing the photo and highlighting Christian’s actions.
Then there’s Christian himself. As they say, actions speak louder than words, so all I will say is, well done that lad.
However, there is also one very sad fact that this story highlights.
In PR, we are always looking for a news hook – the one, unique thing that will make a story newsworthy and attractive to the press. The sad fact then is this; that a simple act of human decency should be so rare nowadays that a photograph of two men at either end of the age spectrum should attract comments from as far afield as Australia and the United States, calling for more people like Christian to exist in the world – and not specifically young people, just people.
We could all learn a lot from Christian, most importantly “treat other people the way you would want to be treated yourself”. A simple lesson, but one no marketing budget in the world could communicate as well as an 18-year-old stock assistant from Horwich.