Sometimes it feels like we live in a world that’s full of nothing but negativity, but then someone shows us that there is light around every corner. This story is an important reminder that no matter how much you struggle, there’s always someone who cares.
She couldn’t believe what was happening. The woman just wanted some extra money to support her family, but now she was the center of attention. Her face was hot. Was this some elaborate prank? The woman was told that she would be getting some extra work. All she needed to do was show the new girl the ropes, but she never agreed to all of this. Then, the unthinkable occurred.
Ranna Marino believed in the American dream. The day her husband proposed to her, she thought she had finally gotten it. They moved into a new home just outside of Cypress, Texas, and started to work towards their future together. She worked at Mr. Appliance as a technician, and her husband Michael was the manager. They knew that the wanted children one day, but they never thought that it would turn into a nightmare.
Tanna’s little family grew faster than she had planned. The moment their first child began to crawl, Tanna realized that she was pregnant again! She had finally gone back to work after her maternity leave, so how were they going to react to the news about another baby? She would soon find out that having a second baby would be least of her problems.
Eventually, Tanna’s second maternity leave turned into a third and then a fourth. Luckily, the management at Mr. Appliance was extremely understanding. Considering there was already three young kids that needed her attention, she obviously needed the time off. She figured that would she be able to relax on the last maternity leave as she did before, but she never expected how her husband would act.
When Tanna returned from her final shift at Mr. Appliance, she came home to her husband sitting at the kitchen table with a beer in his hand. He had a solemn expression on his face and his heart was a bit heavy. Their plan was for Tanna to go back to work after her maternity leave and then she would hand in her two-weeks notice at the end of the year. They were spending so much on nannies! But, then her husband said something that stopped her heart.
They were welcoming their fourth child into the world when they found out that Michael lost his job.They were only getting by because of their savings, and their plan was now impossible. As the years passed, Tanna kept working to support her family while Michael did whatever he could to find work. Every morning he would bring the kids to school while Tanna was working. Every evening, Tanna would pick them up and get them ready for bed while Michael completed his training to become a firefighter. They were more than tired. Then one day, Tanna received a phone call.
The number of people in this world who struggle to support their families is phenomenal. Some people are eating off of gold plates, while others can’t scrape enough change together to buy a loaf of bread for their children.
Tanna and her husband were losing so much time with their children. And what’s the point of having a family if they only got to spend time with each other a few hours out of the day? When Tanna answered that call and a scout was on the line offering a role in a reality TV show pilot, she was interested. She would be paid for her time and it wouldn’t take away from her family. Michael encouraged her to do it, but they never expected it to leave such an impression on their lives.
Working full time to support your family keeps you away from the family that you’re trying to support. It’s a harsh reality for those that struggle to get by on a daily basis. Would Tanna ever be able to get her family out of that vicious cycle?
Tanna agreed to meet the crew of “Don’t Quit Your Day Job” outside of Mr. Appliance. Fortunately, her manager approved for them to be there. The crew instructed her to do what she normally does at work, which isn’t exactly exciting for a reality TV show. Even so, Tanna followed their directions. They did ask her to do something new—train the new employee, Faith. But Faith wasn’t what Tanna expected.
Tanna worked a minimum of five days a week, and every chance she got, she worked overtime. She needed every penny she could get. Unfortunately, she never had time to do her hair or makeup. Faith was the total opposite. She was covered in a thick layer of makeup, long brown hair that fell to her back, sparkly jewels covered her neck and fingers, and long pink nails held her brand name purse. Tanna didn’t realize they were hiring people, but there was something else she didn’t know
Tanna was patient, understanding, and kind. If Faith didn’t understand something, Tanna would explain it to her again. Faith felt more than welcome in her new environment. It was obvious that Faith didn’t have a lot of experience, so Tanna explained everything extremely well. Tanna never imagined that Faith was about to change everything in her life.
Tanna and Faith were inseparable over the next few days. They ate lunch together, did service calls together, and took their breaks together. Faith was even invited over to Faith’s house to meet her family. You would’ve thought that they had known each other for years. That was when Tanna let Faith in on a little secret.
Tanna told Faith about her family’s reality. Even though Michael and Tanna both had jobs, they were still struggling financially. As the kids grew older, they needed new clothes, shoes, school supplies, sports equipment. Unfortunately, Tanna already spent an incredible amount of her time away from her kids, but she had to find another job. Faith was overwhelmed with emotion, but Tanna would be surprised to see how their week together would end.
Faith was familiar with family struggles. Her father had a difficult time supporting their family when she was younger. She knew what it was like to be hungry. As the last day of filming neared, Tanna was informed that she would be visiting Faith’s family for the final portion of the show. When Tanna showed up Friday, she was greeted by Faith, but she had short hair. Tanna was confused. What was happening?
Faith wasn’t hiding the truth anymore. “I am Dina Dwyer-Owens, the CEO of the corporation that owns Mr. Appliance,” she explained while she shook Tanna’s hand. Tanna couldn’t believe it. Apparently, Dina disguised herself for the entire week to see what it was like to work on the front lines. The reality show Tanna was on was actually “Undercover Boss,” and Tanna had seen it before! Was she going to be fired?
Dina was more than impressed by Tanna. She had never met someone so hard-working and kind. She admired Tanna’s work ethic and explained that Tanna was a critical member of their team. That’s when she did something unbelievable. She gave Tanna a $5,000 grant to start the program, “Women in Trades.” But the surprises didn’t stop there.
Dina also established at $10,000 college education scholarship for Tanna’s children’s. Tanna and Michael’s biggest fear as parents was not being able to provide enough for their kids. They had bills to pay, four mouths to feed, and a house to take care of. Tanna thought that they would never be able to put money aside for their education. She was in tears. How could this stranger be so kind to her? But still, there was more.
As a parent, you want to pave the best path for your children that you can. Tanna was unsure how she was ever going to pay for her children’s education, but Dina did what she could to help shape their future. Knowledge is power, and fortunately, Dina understood that.
Tanna was overwhelmed with emotion. She treated Dina as she would treat any other employee. She never would have imagined that this could happen! Her head was a bit dizzy. Was it all a dream? Was she being pranked? Despite her own thinking, Tanna knew that she was awake. Dina explained that the money was a personal gift, but why did she do it?
Dina had no clue what was going to happen when she signed up for “Undercover Boss.” She had watched the show before. Typically, bosses encountered lazy, rude employees. But Tanna was different and she was everything that Dina wanted in an employee. Dina knew how hard it was to support a large family, even with full-time work, which is why she wanted to help.
Dina continued to be the CEO and Tanna went home to Michael and her kids. When her husband opened the front door, he knew something was up. When Tanna told Michael what happened, he began to cry. After years of struggling, they had finally gotten a break. What were they going to do with the money?
As always, Tanna put her kids first. She bought them all the new pair of shoes that she had promised months before. Then they all went out for a meal of only desserts. She got her strength from her children. When she couldn’t give her kids the things they wanted, she felt like she was failing. Thankfully, Dina was able to help her. But would Tanna be able to resist the urge to go on shopping sprees?
Dina went out of her way to do what she could to help Tanna’s family. It’s important for those that have so much, offer to help those that have too little. If every person just cared a little bit more about their neighbors, the world would truly be a better place.