I received a Letter from the Vice President of Home Depot Stores - Marvin Ellison

I received a Letter from the Vice President of Home Depot Stores - Marvin Ellison

A letter from the Vice President of Home Depot stores. Who new he  would go on to be the CEO of Lowes, but wait why did he write me a letter in the first place. I’m glad you asked, even though you really didn’t ask.  Let’s rewind, over 10 years ago 12 years to be exact. I was just a young man passionate about people and passionate about service. I woke up every day with such a different vantage point than most people my age, because I was so thankful to be alive. So when I woke up each morning I wasn’t on a quest for money. I was on a true quest to serve people in my life and in my work. Now some days where busier than others, but on this particular day it was very busy. No matter the pressure or the climate. I valued offering everyone the same exact service, Excellence. I believe excellence is a Spirit. It’s a quality that should be shared with everyone. Even more so in life and in work. So I didn’t care if you were a man or woman. Black, White or Hispanic and couldn’t speak English. I wanted everyone that crossed  paths with me to experience the same quality of care and service.

On this particular day. We as a store for the company we’re very short on staff, I ended up managing the paint department practically by myself and the lines were long, but regardless of the pressure and demand I made sure to offer everyone the same quality of care. There happened to be a woman in that line, that was buying paint for her home. I treated her with care as I did all of my customers this is something she got to witness, not only did I help and guide her with a standard of excellence love and care for this big renovation home project of hers.  I helped those around her with this same level of care and insight. She thanked me for my service and went on her way. 


Some weeks later this same woman came in the store. The managers and departments heads were fully on deck that day. We had a full staff, but when this woman came in the store,  I noticed something….. all the managers and leaders in the store were chasing after her asking if she needed help. I mean she had a line of leadership running behind her trying to assist and help her, ready to be at her beck and call and she simply said “no I’m fine.”Is Michael here? She made her way to the paint department and asked for my help. Now I new this was unusual because managers of the store where in the paint department behind this woman. I thought to myself what is this about. It was just another day for me. I offered her the same service I offered her before and that I offer ever customer day in and day out. She was so thankful that  I assisted her and she was sure to let me know how much she appreciate my service. When she left some of the leadership at Home Depot said to me. “How did you make that happen.” “Make what happen” I asked. She refused our help and walked right up to to you and asked for your help, do you know who that is. No I replied, "She is the Assistant to Marvin Ellison. Marvin Ellison I said, who is Marvin Ellison? “Mike are you serious! Marvin Ellison is the Vice President of Home Depot stores! Oh! I didn’t know that. See, while I was at Home Depot, I had no intention of climbing the corporate ladder. I was in school preparing for a career in mental health and serving youth. I only had one purpose for my work at Home Depot, serve people. Serve people at the highest level everyday. I didn’t worry about my performance or who was watching me or who wasn’t watching me, because I had a sincere passion and desire as young man to love and serve people well. I wasn’t  selective in how I treated people. I didn’t have a switch I turned on and off. My light was on all the time. 


About a Month later, we were having an all staff meeting 


Where the managers favorite staff get rewarded. I usually don’t get rewarded at these meetings and it didn’t bother me. To be honest, I didn’t feel that the awards were for individual service, but more so how the individual staff benefited management. So I was never bothered about not getting awarded. My focus was customers and customer service. I knew this was the culture and values of the company as a whole so I just continued to stand on those values, but something unusual happened at this staff meeting. They called my name for an award. I looked to myself like huh? Is this a joke….I haven’t kissed up to anybody. What’s going on here.


They then called me up and said Michael has been doing a tremendous job serving customers with excellence, and the highest quality of service. The corporate office has awarded you with this executive award as well as extra money on your next check as a token of their appreciation for living out the Home Depot values. 


At this point I realized the award was beyond my immediate leadership team. 


As I opened the award there was a letter from Marvin Ellison the then Vice President of Home Depot stores. 

It read,



I  want to personally thank you for your hard work and dedication. I received feedback from my assistant on how you are providing outstanding customer service at 6940. She notes how instrumental you were with her recent paint purchase. Because of Michaels “ patience, product knowledge, helpfulness… and genuine good service without a clue that I worked for HD…. I had a great shopping  experience. Michael was great at managing the paint desk when very busy. Each customer was treated as important. Thank you for your living The Home Depot value everyday in every way. 


As a token of my appreciation encloses is a special executive Homer Badge - where it proudly! 


Keep up the good work! 


Marvin R. Ellison EVP



Wow! These words set a standard in my life to a new level. Excellence is transcendent. Quality service is limitless.  Excellent service echos beyond limitation and circumstances. It reaches the ears of kings. I didn’t know who Marvin Ellison was before this encounter. Now I keep up with his development. He is one of only 4 black Fortune 500 CEOs currently. He is the only Black Person to have served as CEO of two different companies on the Fortune 500. For his words to reach my ears on a personal level, to know an African American man like me with a very similar story could reach the epitome of success opened up new doors of possibility for me.  Before him, I didn’t even know people that look like me could occupy the space that he occupied. That we could be recognized as a men of such high value in this society. I’m thankful for him sharing and acknowledging that value with me. 


I Honor Marvin Ellison, The Now CEO of Lowes, for paving a path of where hard work and dedication can lead just as his Father taught him. For reaching heights unseen but being humble and lowly enough to touch and acknowledge people with life changing words. I can proudly say that I carry the encouragement of being acknowledged and exhorted in such a way that I can say that these words have shapes the DNA of myself and my current company it’s good 1:31



Product Knowledge 


Genuine Great Service that leads to a great shopping experiences 



As as an entrepreneur this is branded in my continual service through my enterprise. This letter, this award, continues to be a stream of life to me. I hope to be a vessel that will continue to channel this great responsibility so that others will never thirst again!