South Dakota Has Many Martys
Jan 11, 2012
My book club just finished reading “The Richest Man in Town,” the true story of a beloved Walmart cashier from Brookings, South Dakota, named Marty. Since the book was published over five years ago, it has gained both regional and national attention. The author, V.J. Smith, now travels all over the country speaking about the lessons learned from Marty.
If you haven’t read it, the kind old man was not rich at all. He lived a simple life with his wife and was very devoted to his job and the customers who came through his checkout line. He took extra effort to walk around the counter to shake every customer’s hand, sometimes even offering a hug. He actually listened to each patron and responded with more than just a simple “uh-huh” or “that’s nice.” Marty always took that extra step.
I love the story. I actually passed it around to my friends here at South Dakota Magazine. But, to be honest, I’m not that surprised. It is South Dakota after all. I know a handful of Martys, though maybe not to his level of fame.
Eric Tycz, for example, owned the Sportsmen’s Rendezvous in Tyndall. He pulled himself away from the kitchen every night to perform magic tricks for his customers. He called it a “Tyndall tradition” but in reality it was one more way to make his customers smile.
The young boy on the cover of our current issue is another example of “Martyism.” Four-year-old James Danh greets customers at Pho Quynh restaurant in Sioux Falls. Since the issue hit newsstands, we’ve received a flood of emails and calls from people who regularly visit the Vietnamese restaurant not only for the delicious food, but also the welcoming smile and silly jokes from James.
Who is the Marty in your community?