• Gary Buxton

The Kindness of Strangers

Updated: Oct 8, 2019


Thomas Cook

On the 24th September 2019, 9,000 UK Thomas Cook employees found out that their employer was no more. Many were mid-shift, some were mid-flight and didn't find out the news until landing. As the news unfolded through the day, the gravity of the situation began to descend. An employer with no rescue package wouldn't even be able to make the payroll for that month. Thomas Cook staff across the globe were left stranded.


Jo Killgallon from our coaching circle was particularly struck by the sadness of the situation knowing that over 3,000 of those affected were based near Manchester Airport, a key hub for Thomas Cook. Inspired by the generosity she saw in the TC staff, she asked if any of us wanted to do something to help. The answer was a resounding YES!


Jo, Dani White and myself quickly got together and decided we would do our bit, gather a few coaches and HR professionals together to offer coaching and support to Thomas Cook employees on a pro-bono basis. I was tasked with setting up a web page, registration system and initially profiling the coaches whilst Jo and Dani would work on matching coaches to TC employees as and when people registered, making the introductions and making sure the need and offer was a good match.


We managed to get everything set up within a few hours and we launched the offer the next day, firstly to gather some likeminded coaches, and then to offer this to Thomas Cook employees in the North West.


The response was mind-blowing and it just goes to show what an incredible bunch of people the coaching community are! To give you a few numbers behind the campaign:


In 72 hours:

  • Over 18,000 people reached on social media

  • 408 Interactions from well-wishers, volunteers and Thomas Cook employees

  • 131 messages of encouragment

  • 40 coaches profiled and signed up

  • Over 660 hours of pro-bono coaching offered to Thomas Cook employees to help them get ready for their next job!

The response was so much more than we could have imagined and two weeks later, we're still making sure everyone is getting the most from both offering and receiving the coaching.


We'd like to say a massive thank you to all of the Coaches and HR professionals who offered their time. We've kept the page live so that others can check out all of the incredible people who said yes to helping someone else when it was needed. The page also includes details on Jobs Fairs, workshops and other sites that might be helpful to Thomas Cook Employees.

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 © Gary Buxton 2020