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Employees moved to tears by holiday bonus from their generous boss: 'It's life-changing'

The boss gave out red envelopes as Christmas gifts, employees were elated at seeing what was inside.

Employees moved to tears by holiday bonus from their generous boss: 'It's life-changing'
Cover Image Source: YouTube | @stjohnproperties

Christmas truly casts a magical spell with its vibrant celebrations and heartfelt gift exchanges that resonate deeply, especially when gifts are thoughtfully chosen. The joy of exchanging gifts is unparalleled, especially when someone considers what we want while gifting us. The chairman of this real-estate company turned holiday wishes into reality, surprising each employee with a generous Christmas bonus. At the firm's annual holiday celebration on December 7, 2019, Edward St. John, founder and chairman of St. John Properties, unveiled the grand surprise. The employees were unaware that they were about to receive a life-changing Christmas gift from their boss.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Nicole Michalou
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Nicole Michalou

Recognized as a leading commercial real estate firm in the Mid-Atlantic, St. John Properties greatly values its employees, whose hard work has propelled the company to significant achievements. According to their press release, the Maryland-based company had achieved its goal of developing 20 million square feet of office, flex/R&D, retail and warehouse space in eight states by the end of 2019. 

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A post shared by St. John Properties, Inc. (@stjohnprop)


Since setting its ambitious goal in 2005, the company has navigated through challenging economic conditions and emerged successful 14 years later. To honor the employees who had contributed to this achievement, the chairman publicly announced a $10 million bonus for all his 198 employees during the company's holiday party. According to the press release, the company will distribute the bonuses, averaging $50,000, to all 198 employees based on their years of service.

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A post shared by St. John Properties, Inc. (@stjohnprop)


In an Instagram post, the real estate company expressed its gratitude towards its employees. The photos vividly captured the employees' overwhelming joy as they received the magical red envelopes containing their Christmas bonuses. "To celebrate the achievement of our goal, we wanted to reward our employees in a big way that would make a significant impact on their lives," the chairman said and added, "I am thankful for every one of our employees for their hard work and dedication. I couldn't think of a better way to show it." 

This generous bonus was in addition to other benefits like the annual year-end bonus, 401(k) with matching, profit sharing, and paid vacation time. The employees were also lucky to be enjoying facilities like company-owned vehicles for eligible workers, on-site fitness, physical therapy, wellness consultations, and access to a financial advisor.

St. John shared that his philosophy was to surround himself with "the best and the brightest" and that his employees were committed to excellence. The momentous event was shared on YouTube, where the employees burst into tears as they opened the envelope. 

"What happened tonight was magical. It is life-changing," said one of the employees tearfully, adding, "That is so generous." The big-hearted boss said, "I steer the boat, but they're the ones who run the boat. Without the teams, we are absolutely nothing." Working at St.John's Properties for several years, the loyal employees were not only grateful for their rewards but also felt hopeful about their future. 

Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 29, 2023. It has since been updated.

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