If Syd Scott had a dollar for every customer that has shared with her their life story, she could buy a lot of product at her current place of business. Scott, a cashier at the Dollar Tree in Petaluma, has a knack for getting customers to talk to her.
Perhaps it’s her bubbly personality, or perhaps it’s her infectious smile, but shoppers tend to come in regularly looking for great deals and a welcoming ear to bend.
“The customers are fabulous,” said Scott. “It’s a real community. There is a very sweet group of people who come in. They come in all the time and tell me their intimate stories. It’s a bit of an honor they are so trusting of me.”
A Petaluma resident for the past 25 years, Scott, 52, spent two decades working as a teacher for the Two Rock and Petaluma City school districts. Last year, when she stopped teaching, she got a job at her favorite store, the Dollar Tree on East Washington Street, and immediately fell in love with customer service.
“The customers always have such nice things to say,” she said. “They keep you smiling and they appreciate kindness. I feel like I teach and learn every day.”
Scott, who lives with her boyfriend, son and two puppies, is the service person of the week for the Argus-Courier.
A graduate of San Jose State University, she got her teaching certificate from Sonoma State. Her father was a professor at Standford, so teaching is in the family.
Cara Wasden, a customer who nominated Scott, said she regularly comes into the store and leaves with a smile.
“You may not walk into the Dollar Tree with a smile, but if you’re in Syd’s line, you’ll leave with one,” she wrote in an email. “Every time I’ve seen Syd interact with customers, she does so with a smile, a spark and often a fun sense of humor. Just today she interacted with a man in front of me who accidentally left the bathroom key inside and the door locked behind. Instead of making him feel bad for doing so, she smiled and said something like, ‘It’s OK, we’ll get it somehow. It’ll be an adventure.’”
Scott said her store has the best deals in town — nothing costs more than a buck. An avid gardener, she takes advantage of the affordable gardening tools and the cheap seeds. She also likes checking out the races at the Petaluma Speedway and watching parades when they come to town.
For Scott, ringing up a customer and watching them smile at the low bill and the savings they are realizing makes every day at the Dollar Tree worthwhile.
“I love working here,” she said. “We always say, ‘Pay it forward.’”
Scott is the fourth of five nominees for the Service Person of the Year award, which will be selected by a poll of readers. The winner will be honored at the 2018 Petaluma Community Awards of Excellence, co-sponsored by the Argus-Courier and the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce.
Email a nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org or write us a letter to tell us why you think your nominee should be considered for the service person award (no phone calls, please.)
Nominations can cover all aspects of the service industry, from cashiers and clerks to baristas and servers — not business owners, managers or directors.