Cabaret employees surprise fellow co-worker with Christmas bonus

Local News

CARTHAGE, S.D. (KELO) — There may not be any snow on the ground, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well in one small town.

The story of how a community came together to help some of their own.

KELOLAND News has been telling you about how the Cabaret restaurant in Carthage, South Dakota held a fundraiser last weekend to help it’s employees get through Christmas, since they lost a lot of money through tips and wages during the pandemic.

But what those employees did with some of that Christmas bonus money is even more touching.

Joan Karlen thought she was meeting family for a Christmas dinner.

“My daughter texted me and said, ‘family meal at the Cabaret?’ well you can’t turn that down, sneaky sneaky,” Joan said.

The real reason she’s here is a surprise.

“I’ve been planning this day for almost two months now and right now my heart is full,” Rebecca said.

Rebecca Grace held a fundraiser last weekend to help her employees and last night, she rewarded them with Christmas bonuses.

But her staff did one even better, they agreed to donate some of their Christmas money to Joan.

Joan used to work, but had to quit last May after breaking her neck when she fell off a horse while herding cattle on her farm near Howard.

Jamie Stevens says it’s the right thing to do.

“When we all found out about this, we all kind of talked, it would be really neat if we could include her in this too,” Jamie said.

Joan says that’s what you get when you grow up in a small town; people willing to help people.

“I’m very touched I’m going to try not to cry,” Joan said.

“It’s like one big family here it’s really unique very special we all pull together, when someone has a need, everybody steps up,” Joan said.

And that’s a gift you just can’t find under any Christmas Tree.

“If you get to Carthage make it a point to get to Carthage and experience the Cabaret family, you won’t be sorry,” Joan said.

Joan says she’s slowly healing and would like to go back to work at the Cabaret, but she’s not quite there yet.

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