Beloved dental specialist surprised with $20,000 for 20 years of work

Texas dental assistant Sophia Teel celebrates “20 years of fabulous”.

A video of a Texas dental assistant receiving $20,000 cash from her employers to mark 20 years on the job has gone viral as the ultimate example of employee appreciation.

Orthodontists Mike Nelson and Ron Risinger of Beaumont, Texas surprised Sophia Teel with $1,000 for each year she worked at the practice in recognition of her upcoming 20-year anniversary with their practice. The video of the surprise has been reposted on different platforms, receiving millions of views.

“That’s the kind of employee appreciation we want to see!! Love it πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ™ŒπŸΌ Congratulations to her ❀️πŸ”₯,” a Twitter user wrote.

Teel told “Good Morning America” ​​she was “in shock.”

“I was thinking, ‘Damn, I have a month left until I’m 20. I know I’m not going to get fired,'” she said, explaining her hesitation as she walked into the room in the video.

Teel started at Risinger & Nelson Orthodontic Specialists as an intern in May 2002. She was soon offered a position which she has since said she has loved.

“It’s the perfect position,” Teel said. “Kids wear braces to love their smile, to gain confidence. Usually, in the end, they’re very happy. So it’s fun work.”

Dr. Nelson told “GMA” that Teel plays an important role in building that trust and keeping clients comfortable when they come into the office.

“Sophie is a great example of someone who brings joy and happiness to the office every day,” he said.

Dr. Risinger told ‘GMA’ that he and Nelson were trying to recognize employee milestones in a fun way and wanted to do something special for the practice’s first 20th anniversary celebration, especially after hearing that Teel was soon to be close his first house. .

“Sophie is not just an employee, but a friend of the family and a very valuable person to have around you,” Risinger said.

He estimates that he and Teel have spent nearly 40,000 hours together over the past two decades.

“She watched this little operation grow to the size it has today and she’s one of the reasons we’re successful,” he said.

Nelson and Risinger said it’s important to them that their employees know they’re valued.

“The things we can do for our family and our team here is really fun and for us it’s a small reflection of the greatness they give back to us and to the patients here in the office” , Nelson said. .

Risinger, whose son and future daughter-in-law are also studying to become orthodontists, hopes to keep paying, adding that he would be happy to do something like this again for Teel in 20 years.

“I’m grateful – I was humbled that day – but I’m grateful and it’s an amazing feeling to be appreciated in this way and the whole world knows you’re appreciated,” she said. . “It was awesome.”

ABC News

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