It was with joy and sadness that we congratulated Nicole on her college graduation this December. Joy because we have shared in her struggles to persevere through and complete her bachelor’s degree requirements over the past four years. She maintained her classes while balancing her work schedule here at Southgate Coins. Sadness because we realize the time will soon come for her to leave us, and move on to her next adventure in life.
During the past four years, we have forged more than an employer-employee relationship with Nicole. We have grown a friendship that has evolved during the time we were given together; a time to work, a time to play, a time to laugh, and a time to cry together. Though many girls have worked for us over the years, we’ve grown to love only a few with the love we have for Nicole.
During Nicole’s time at Southgate Coins, we’ve written tributes to her as we’ve chronicled how she has blossomed and matured from an eighteen-year-old girl into a twenty-two-year-old woman. We have acknowledged her natural beauty, artistic talent, disarming sense of humor, and her determination to finish school while many challenges confronted her. It has been amazing for me to see her come into her own with self-confidence, discovering her own beliefs, and making decisions for her future.
Sharing time and experiences gave Nicole and me a foundation for a trusted friendship. She learned that Rusty and I were on her side, were rooting for her to succeed, and wanted her to be a better person than she was when she started working for us. By better, I mean someone who wasn’t afraid to apologize, someone who would take responsibility for her mistakes, and someone who would be open and honest about herself. These were keys to the forging of a real relationship between us, and I am very grateful that Nicole learned to practice these life skills. It has allowed us to really get to know one another.
I have appreciated that over the past two years Nicole has taken our needs as employers into consideration. It was never more evident than when she was struggling with her school schedule and yet showed so much concern to ensure that our shifts were covered. By her actions, she showed us that we mattered to her. She has done this consistently in the decisions she has made regarding us during her time at Southgate Coins.
Now, I just hope Nicole knows as she prepares to take the next step in her life’s journey, how we feel about her. I hope we have given her more than just an education in employment. I hope we have given her something much deeper. And I hope she remembers her time with us and has fond memories of us years from now. I know we will certainly remember her tenderly.
Rusty will now conclude our tribute to Nicole.
Okay Marie, here we go.
Nicole started working for us at the end of her first semester as a freshman at the University of Nevada Reno, in December 2008. I don’t know which of the skills she had acquired at the tanning salon she had just quit she could have brought to her job as an assistant at a coin shop, but she looked every bit of what her email address suggested—beachblonde. We have delighted in having her as a part of the Southgate Coins’s team for the past four years, as she has plowed diligently through her courses at UNR on her way to earning a BA in Health Sciences.
In her time with us, I have observed how when Nicole learns something well, she owns that skill. She conducts herself with confidence when she carries out the tasks she has mastered. Two of her most significant areas of strength are customer service, and its counterpart phone etiquette. I’m convinced she could teach classes on how to answer and handle phone calls. People long-distance as well as walk-ins here at the store, show their pleasure constantly with Nicole’s helpful attitude and amiable style.
Through the years, I have noticed that when Nicole is unsure of herself in any duty, she initially shows slight trepidation—a little nervousness—about moving forward. In the past, I’ve seen a tendency in her to mask her lack of knowledge or experience with a little bravado when she finds herself in unchartered territory. But the true mark of maturity that she’s gained in her time with us, is her willingness to take instruction with humility. She has acquired one of the most powerful strengths anyone can have—she has learned to confess her mistakes, learn from them, and then receive the gratifying grace and comforting forgiveness that follows.
She really shows how far she’s progressed in four years when she’s training a new girl. She serves as a great role model for what it takes to have a winning attitude at Southgate Coins; and at the same time, the things she’s teaching the newbie, remind Nicole of how much she’s learned in her time with us.
Her blossoming into a mature woman, who knows the meaning of team spirit, and who has the poise to give, with panache, a 30-minute presentation in front of her college classmates, has brought much delight to Marie and me. Still, we’re equally pleased that Nicole has retained her passion to clown around at times. Occasionally, she’ll break out into a kind of dance that’s a cross between Steve Martin’s old “King Tut” routine and Michael Jackson’s moves in his music video for “Bad.” She loves to cuss (only in the back office), and sometimes the words spewed from her mouth paint the air “blue,” and turn the cheeks of one or more of us “red,” but it’s always done in good humor and without fail elicits laughter all around. And it’s hilarious when she does her comical imitations of dimwitted celebrity girls, or ill-informed phone callers. She can mimic a dingbat’s lisp on cue.
I have many other fond memories of Nicole’s four years at Southgate. The Halloween costumes and the Kentucky Derby Day outfits (especially that yellow dress one year), and the birthday celebrations (all of us May-people). I enjoyed the carpool rides we took to Carson City for the Nevada State Museum’s annual coin show, and the sharing we’ve done about happenings on “Dancing with the Stars” and “Nashville.” And how can we forget our most recent recapping of ex-UNR Wolf Pack great Colin Kaepernick’s exploits as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers?
Nicole, outside of the rewards Marie and I have given you, I hope you have enjoyed the many other perks you’ve received during your time at Southgate Coins. People locally and from across the country have lavished recognition and respect on you because of your association with our company—not to mention the many gifts. We hope you will take lasting memories with you of your time as a valuable member of our team.
I’m sure that working as an assistant at a coin shop never made it near the top of Nicole’s list of ambitious pursuits. Yet, she has made the most of her part-time career with us. I think, given her druthers, she would have chosen the modeling profession as one of her loftier goals; and why wouldn’t she—with her good looks. Now she’s got her bachelor’s degree, a budding romantic relationship, and her whole life ahead of her. Marie and I pray that the future brings her all that her heart desires. We’re just thankful for the time she spent wearing our company’s apron.
Congratulations Nicole, for the four years you have served at Southgate Coins.
With love and gratitude,
Rusty & Marie