In their words: TQL car winners' stories
TQL gave away eight brand new cars to employees as part of a milestone celebration at HQ Jan. 27.
Eighty employees were revealed as contestants in the preceding week and divided in groups of 10 as part of a bash in all 56 offices. Potential victors were awarded numbers and TQL President Kerry Byrne spun a numbered prize wheel eight times to determine the car winners, many of whom watched via live stream from satellite offices.
This is what those winners had to say.
Jose, San Antonio (Sales Support Manager – Mexico)
If No. 7 wasn’t Jose’ lucky number before, it is now. It appeared time and again after his name was announced on the DE as a car giveaway contestant. One day Jose grabbed dice off a colleague’s desk and made a prediction. “If I roll a seven, I’ll win a car,” he joked. He rolled the dice and the numbers combined for seven. Beginner’s luck, Jose thought. He rolled again. Seven. He rolled three times during the week, in fact, and produced sevens each time. Then, when Jose was given a number to hold as one of 10 contestants in his giveaway round, he was awarded the seven. The signs looked promising. Truth be told, he needed a new car. Jose’s 2015 Jeep had engine problems that wouldn’t be cheap to fix. He and his wife, Karenn, had their hands full as first-time parents to 8-month-old Carolina. Jose didn’t want to stoke his wife’s hopes, so he didn’t say much about his chance of winning. But he rolled the dice once more before the car giveaway for good luck. He was shocked to see seven. Would the prize wheel match that number? “I said, God, I put it in your hands. You know my needs,” Jose said. “And then seven came up.” He roared with excitement and was mobbed by his colleagues in what felt like a thrilling team win. And there’s this: He won on a January day ending in seven.
Kwame, Columbus, Ohio (Logistics Account Executive SG)
For as long as he can remember, Kwame has never won anything. Not a yogurt contest he entered as a kid, not the lottery, and nothing in between. So imagine his surprise when his number was called for the first car awarded at the 8B celebration. Kwame and a room filled with team members watched the live stream from Columbus. He hoped for the best but didn’t expect a thing as he held a sign showing the number six. “I couldn’t see the wheel because the screen was minimized but I heard (DJ) JonJon say ‘Six.’ I was like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy!’ I was completely surprised,” Kwame said. After wiping away champagne spray from his eyes and jumping around with ecstatic TQL’ers, Kwame called his parents to share the good news. His dad was pragmatic about this next steps. His mom was elated. After a bit more celebrating, Kwame went home to sleep, knowing he needed to wake up early for Saturday Group Leader duties. “As excited as I was, I had to be responsible,” Kwame said. The events of Friday were so surreal that he didn’t truly believe he’d won until Saturday. He’s thrilled to finally win something. “I’m happy I was given the opportunity,” Kwame said. “I’ve only been working at TQL a little while, since 2021, and I’m so appreciative of this.”
Michelle, Charleston, SC (Customer Service Coordinator II – FTL)
Michelle didn’t think much about winning a car when her name was revealed among the 80 entrants in TQL’s giveaway. She didn’t put much stock in winning when her round was featured or the wheel was spun. “There was a 13% chance my number was going to hit the wheel,” she said. But it did. Michelle, who works nights from home, waved from her post in front of her computer while her team celebrated in the Charleston office. What nobody knew was this: On the other side of the camera, out of the view of TQL’ers, stood a cheering squad of six ecstatic children. “They were really happy,” Michelle said. Her life has changed dramatically in recent months, as she has become the custodian of a family member’s six children. Their ages range from 3 to 12. The change has been a lot to manage for Michelle, who’s only 21 herself. She used to work during the day for TQL and shifted to nights to go to school, but her education is on pause as she juggles work and parenting. “Lately it’s been a rough time,” Michelle said. Michelle said the TQL giveaway provides a ray of light in an otherwise challenging time. “I am extremely grateful,” Michelle said. “I think I’m still a little bit in shock.”
Maria, Denver (Logistics Account Executive SGL)
Maria needed something, anything, good to happen after a tough couple of months. She was very close to her grandmother, who passed in December of 2022, right about the time Maria moved from her TQL office in Phoenix to Denver to live with her longtime boyfriend. Maria was car-less. She sold her vehicle before the trip and bought a new vehicle in Colorado but promptly noticed a leak and returned it to the dealership to be fixed. Winning a new car in TQL’s milestone giveaway solved the one-car household situation Maria and her boyfriend have been navigating and gave her a confidence-boosting personal victory. “Sometimes it’s difficult to live life on life’s terms. It’s a good change to have something so positive happen. It’s been really difficult to deal with everything life has thrown at me,” Maria said. Her brother Dominic, a TQL Enterprise Senior Logistics Account Executive, watched her win on the live stream while her parents, visiting from Michigan, were in the room at the Denver office. After the wheel stopped on her number, Maria celebrated with a Denver team she’s still getting to know and received a congratulatory call from her old Phoenix team. She and her parents capped the festivities by going out to dinner. “I’ve never won anything in my life,” Maria said. “The first thing I thought is that I wish could tell my grandmother. But she knows already.”
Isaac, Detroit (Sales Support Supervisor)
For four years, Isaac has been driving a car with no heat in Michigan, where winter is a nightmarish mix of cold and snow. There’s a reason behind this madness, and it stems from financial responsibility. Isaac bought his used 2012 Nissan Versa for $5,000 cash to avoid financing it while throwing as much money as possible at $40,000 in student loan debt. The heat worked when he purchased the car but broke quickly thereafter. “Fixing it would have cost a couple hundred dollars, and at the time I couldn’t do it. I just got used to dealing with it,” Isaac said. It’s best not to trifle with Isaac’s frugality. He once spent an entire year in Russia for school and lived in cockroach infested lodging for $7 a day in U.S. dollars. Now, not yet 30, he’s proudly debt free because of his discipline. He was in position to start saving for a new car about five months ago and had begun socking away money before his name was pulled in TQL’s giveaway. He can now channel those funds elsewhere (probably investments, he said). “To be honest, this experience is probably in the Top 10 moments of my life. In my office, they mobbed me and doused me with champagne. I felt like won the World Series. It was incredible,” Isaac said. The victory amplified Isaac’s gratitude for TQL, a place he has thrived since coming on board in 2017. “This is such a blessing,” Isaac said. “There’s no other word to describe it.”
Maria, Tampa North (Robotic Process Automation Business Analyst)
One of Maria's hobbies is creating aspirational vision boards to map out a new year. Her collages show goals to attain and milestones to reach. Often, she meets them. Her 2022 vision board featured a new truck – and that’s something she plans to get soon, thanks to her win in TQL’s car giveaway celebration. Maria and her husband, Jose, are in need of a truck to start a trash bin cleaning business as a side hustle. With a truck and trailer, they’ll be equipped to haul 150-gallon tanks for clean and dirty water as well as machines to pick up and pressure wash the bins. “I have no words to really express my gratitude. It means everything to me because it’s not something I ever imagined would happen to me. This is one step toward becoming the individual that always knew I could become,” Maria said. She wished she could tell her sister, Carola, who passed six years ago, but proudly shared the news with other loved ones. After celebrating the victory with her colleagues, Maria emailed TQL's CEO to thank him for a car that not only helps her but her family. Her mom will be the recipient of her current car. Maria, who started at TQL in 2021, is now planning for home ownership. She said “it’s really cool” how TQL treats its employees. “It makes me even more excited to come to work,” Maria said.
Cara, Cincinnati – Ivy Pointe (Staff Accountant)
Cara stood on the stage at TQL headquarters and felt a sense of peace. In the midst of a lively celebration, seconds after winning a new car when the prize wheel landed on No. 3, the mother-to-be finally felt ready for the momentous event ahead. “I’m 34 weeks pregnant. This gives me hope for the future that everything is going to be OK, and that good things do happen when you don’t expect them,” Cara said. She and her husband Austin are preparing for the birth of their first child, Chloe Lynne. Austin was still at his workplace Friday when she texted him the good news. He was shocked at first, then happily told his co-workers, Cara said. She had her own celebrating to do with her team. They rooted her on as she crossed the stage for the giveaway and cheered when the wheel stopped on her number. Cara thought the environment in the cafeteria was top notch. “It was cool to hear everyone cheering live at headquarters,” Cara said. After enjoying the post-giveaway fireworks and calling her mom on the way home, the reality of the prize set in. One of her superiors jokingly suggested she get a minivan for her growing family. A TQL’er since 2018, Cara has seen many others win cars. She’s happy to join the club. “I think it’s awesome and amazing that this is even a possibility,” Cara said.
Ciera, Cincinnati – Edison I (Customer Onboarding Specialist)
By her own admission, the last three years have been the worst of Ciera’s life. Her grandfather, who’d been her legal guardian since she was 6 and her only living parent, was diagnosed with cancer. Ciera lived with him and served as his caretaker throughout his illness while working full-time. When his precious final moments came in the fall of 2021, she was unable to spend time with him because she had COVID. “It was a nightmare,” Ciera said. As a believer in the dark cloud that seemed to follow her, Ciera didn’t put much stock in her chance to win a car at TQL’s giveaway. Then her number came up. “I swear I felt like my grandpa was there,” Ciera said. “It was so mind-blowing that it happened and that it was me.” She was stoic on stage but burst into tears when surrounded by her team off-stage. Ciera said the car will serve a practical use. Her mechanic recently said her 2009 Nissan Altima is on its last legs. She considered herself lucky to have won a new car but said TQL'er was worthy. “We all live hard lives. Everybody has a story,” Ciera said. Ciera hopes she has started a run of good luck, and she’s ever mindful of her grandfather's advice: Move forward, regardless of circumstance.
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