A generous La Mesa dentist surprised his five employees with goodies to help keep them afloat after his office shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Larry Pawl has been in his Lakeside home since his dental office, Larry R. Pawl DMD, shut down on March 16 under the guidance of the American Dental Association. With the office being closed for nearly a month, Pawl missed his staff and wanted to show them that he’s thinking of them. That’s when he got the idea to hand-deliver essential goodies that would help his team.
“We have a small office, we’re a tight team and we get along great,” he said. “I know they’re going through hard times. They’re all unemployed and the office has been closed down so I thought I’d bring them a little ray of sunshine and surprise them.”
Driving to each of his staff member’s homes unannounced, Pawl certainly surprised them when he showed up at their driveways with trash bags full of toilet paper, Kleenex tissues, flowers, a $500 gift card for Vons and handwritten cards that expressed his gratitude toward them. The team of six keep in touch through their group text message chat, but had not seen each other until Pawl showed up at each employee’s door.
Stephanie Perez, who manages Pawl’s dental office, said she was shocked and emotional when her boss made the grand gesture.
“We’re all worried about our livelihoods and he’s having to worry about his own small business, so his generosity was overwhelming,” Perez told NBC 7. “My daughters were in the driveway with me and they started tearing up, too, seeing someone go above and beyond during these times.”
One of his employees jokingly referred to Pawl as the "Corona Claus" and he said he plans to deliver face masks to his team.
Described as a kind, charismatic and generous individual, Pawl is known to give his staff gift cards often and has even treated them to a three-day cruise to Ensenada, according to Perez. The dentist said he likes to show his gratitude for his staff because he credits them for the success of his office.
“They make everything happen,” Pawl said. “I may be the doctor, I may have the name on the door but without the people around me, my team, nothing would happen.”
Both Pawl and Perez hope the dentist's generosity inspires others to give back during these trying times.
“If you have team members, then it’s well worth the time and effort to make that individual delivery of something to show your team that they are cared about and that you miss them,” Pawl said.
“There are good people and everybody is going to be ok but doing little things you can do within reason to give to others is really what’s going to help us get through this as a community,” Perez said.