What do the nation’s airlines and Burger King have in common?
They are among the selfless companies helping America in time of need – during the throes of the coronavirus.
The airlines, including JetBlue, United and Delta, transported volunteer doctors and nurses free of charge to the worst COVID–19 hot spots in America – New York, New Jersey and California. Burger King did its part: Providing free meals for kids in the early days of our nation’s lengthy stay–at–home order.
I am keeping a list so that I can frequent these businesses as a way to say, “America is grateful to you!”
I am keeping another list: Public companies who took advantage of small business loans, exhausting federal funds needed to get little companies back up and running. These public companies used a loophole in federal legislation called the Payroll Protection Program to take advantage of the funds.
The borrowers included Ruth’s Hospitality Group ($20M), Potbelly Corp. ($10M) and Shake Shack Inc. ($10M). All three returned the money when realizing smaller companies were left stranded when the funds ran out. The loophole was closed in a second round of funding.
I would like to think the public companies learned an important lesson: Opening small businesses who may operate on a shoestring budget is a national priority with millions unemployed and needing their old jobs back. After all, public companies have many other borrowing options.
In a pandemic, character shines through in the goodwill and good deeds of companies like Burger King and the airlines. To them, I offer a toast with my gratitude and my patronage.
© Ron Cooper 2020