“I was so touched I almost cried”

GuoZhongHua / Shutterstock.com
GuoZhongHua / Shutterstock.com

LuAnn Ezeonu’s son is a United States Marine deployed in Afghanistan. A year ago, before he left the country, he bought a laptop computer and an iPod from the Apple Store at the Flatiron Crossing Mall in Broomfield, Colo.

By the time he returned to the States, his electronics were in bad shape. Which is where today’s story of unbelievable customer service picks up: with Ezeonu’s son bringing the dented equipment back to Apple after his deployment.

“He returned from his first deployment with a computer and iPod that were dusty, sandy, beat up and the disk drive in the computer wasn’t working,” she remembers. “We took it to this same Apple store.”

Ezeonu’s son asked the technicians to fix the hard drive, nothing more. But they knew he was a Marine — they remembered him from his first visit a year ago when he bought both gadgets — and in talking with him, they also learned that he was about to return to Afghanistan.

“The techs at the store took the computer cleaned it, fixed the disk drive, got him a new charging cord and then took the iPod and cleaned it up also,” says Ezeonu.

“When we returned a couple hours later to pick up and pay, we were told that it was the least they could do in return for his service,” she says. “I was so touched I almost cried.”

When I heard her story, I almost did, too.

Here’s the thing: We talk a lot about how grateful we are to members of the armed services for the sacrifice they’ve made for our country, but so often, it’s just that — talk.

When it comes time to actually say “thank you” in a meaningful way, the “geniuses” at the Apple Store in Broomfield, Colo., did something. They went above and beyond their call of duty and they refused to take the Marine’s money.

I salute them. And I join them in thanking Ezeonu’s son for his service.

But that’s not all. The young man was so impressed by the actions of the Apple employees that day that he decided to give the company his business again. He spent his hard-earned money on a new iPhone.

“Because of the service and kindness of these Apple employees, they now have a life-long customer,” says Ezeonu.

Apple is this week’s recipient of the Elliott Award for Excellent Customer Service. Here’s wishing Ezeonu’s son all the best in his deployment and speedy, safe return.

If you’ve experienced excellent customer service recently, please . We’re recognizing companies who go above and beyond the call of duty in a new weekly feature.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • ExplorationTravMag

    Stories like this always touch my heart. Military members earn less money than their civilian counterparts, work more hours and are away from their loved ones for long stretches of time.

    It’s good to hear there’s a business out there who appreciates them and their sacrifice. Thanks for sharing this one, Chris.

  • Rob M

    My daughter was in a terrible car accident that smashed the screen of her Apple laptop and bent the case. While she was recuperating, I went to the store fully anticipating buying a new computer. Before the doorkeeper at the Apple Store was willing to assign a salesperson, they made a Genius Bar appointment for me…..bottom line- Apple backed up the old hard drive, took what they could from the smashed computer and rebuilt a “new one” – transferred the data to the new computer and because I had Apple Care did not charge me ANYTHING.

  • JenniferFinger

    This is a very nice story.

  • Pat

    Great story.

  • technomage1

    Awesome story & way to go Apple.

  • Cynthia Kruger

    What an awesome story!! When I read something such as this it reaffirms my faith (or some of it at least) in our culture!

  • Borat Sagidyev

    I read this and was expecting them to give him a new unit or an upgrade or something. So let me get this straight.. they just cleaned up his HDD (which any tech. monkey can do), gave him a new $2 or something replacement cord and ‘cleaned’ up the iPod and it’s some magnificent work of charity ? LOL OK.. sorry, no; this is hilarious. Not because I feel our men in uniform do not deserve it, but because this is a mountain out of a molehill You know how Apple can provide for our service men? … by not playing the offshore tax game, so that they pay the proper taxes that goes into the military budget that can provide support for military service folk and veteran support services.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Like x 100

  • jerryatric

    Apple Customer Service? THE BEST!
    I’m an old guy with an Iphone & IPad. Not knowing much about either I’m in an Apple store regularly asking for help. I have been to Apple stores all over U.S. & in Canada, probably driving them nuts.
    Long after the warranties are up they patiently help with whatever I come up with. I think every retail chain can learn from this company. Places like Best Buy want to improve their sales? Try emulating the Apple Experience, not ignoring customers, if you can find a clerk in the first place.
    On topic, I hope for all servicemen’s safe return.

  • http://www.facebook.com/judyserie.nagy Judy Serie Nagy

    WONDERFUL! Thanks so much for sending this great story.

  • Sam Petersen

    I have goosebumps reading that. I grew up in Broomfield and even though it’s now a large town, there’s still a small town feel to it. Kuddo’s to the Apple Store employees. If I make it back home and have some spare money I just may need to buy an Ipod

  • acproductions

    Please don’t be so petty and mean-spirited, because Apple didn’t do what “you” expected them to do. In this day & age, very sadly, any courtesy & appreciation goes a long way. The vast majority were grateful and pleased that Apple made this special for this Marine. Celebrate this individual, rather than harp on a much larger need that involves corporate rather than these good folk at the Broomfield store. Please celebrate the positive, at whatever level it happens!

  • Reynard

    Yeah, Apple customer service rocks. My husband’s 4S iPhone quit and he went to level 3 tech support online and via phone call with no luck just before we went on a trip to a place with an Apple store, so we went there and he told the customer service guy what was going on. Within about twenty minutes there was a decision to simply replace the phone on the spot. The new one was set up and we were on our way.

  • 18Yr Vet

    As a veteran I have to say that this article is NOT about celebrating the individual. It’s about celebrating Apple for “so called” generosity in donating a $2 charging cable and 30 min of cleaning time. Wow…I’m sure he would have rather had Apple pay their fair share of taxes so that he could get a few more hot meals a day. Or if you DO want to make this about the individual and NOT Apple, give him a new laptop. Sorry but I’m with Borat. Not really what I would expect to hear on a “…I almost cried” story.

  • 18Yr Vet

    Hate to break this to you Apple fan boys, but you have already bought 3 iPod/pad/phone/etc with that single purchase. Apple isn’t being generous, they are keeping you dumb and happy. And buying.

    “Fixed a hard drive…” how long do you really think it takes to move data from one drive to another…completely cloning it? My money is on they only plugged a wire back in and cleaned all the sand out of the system.

    Bottom line, this is sensational journalism at its finest!!

  • mitch5280

    What a sad life you must have,