Around the Town
By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Belk store manager and assistant manager save my day

Greetings from the sunny Boca Raton Resort & Club, where I’m here watching #2 son Sam compete in the Maccabi Games and tweeting and Facebooking as much real time information as I can about Team Dallas (and Fort Worthians Jared Imber and Hannah Simon). I am on a steep learning curve when it comes to social media, but I’m getting the hang of it.
I almost didn’t make the trip, and how I got here is a great story.
It all began last Saturday night, when I was picking up a few things at the mall in advance of our Sunday morning departure. I wandered into the new Belk store, which is right next to Nordstrom at the Galleria. Belk is known for their modern, Southern style.
Surprise, I found a few things. Even better the deals were fabulous. To top it off, I could open a Belk charge account and save an additional 20 percent. I couldn’t pass up that opportunity. After all, I am my mother’s daughter.
With my booty in tow, I headed home near 9 p.m. and proceeded to pack and get all the boys ready. Sam’s plane was at 10:10 a.m. with a 7 a.m. arrival at DFW airport, since he was traveling with the 91-member Team Dallas delegation. Jimmy, Ben and I would depart at noon.
Things seemed to be going really smoothly, Benjamin, heading back home from Aggieland and a must-attend fraternity rush party, arrived safely around 1 a.m. First hurdle crossed. I knew I didn’t have to stress about him sauntering in at “go” time.
Sam’s gear was packed and by the front door. I could grab a few hours sleep.
At 5:30 a.m., I awoke to finish up some details. Sam and I were readying to leave for the airport and I remembered he’d need some spending money.
I opened my wallet.
Huh. … That’s strange… my driver’s license was missing. I searched my mind, retracing my steps. … I had it last night… at Belk… when I opened that charge account.
“Crap,” I thought, “I must have left it there.”
I checked my cell phone and noticed a missed call, at about 8:45 p.m. I’m sure they would have left a message if my voicemail hadn’t been full. I’m sure I would have heard the phone ring if I hadn’t turned it to silent. I dialed the number and got the Belk recording.
Six-thirty was approaching and Sam and I headed out the door. I was freaking out, but tried to remain calm so as not to concern Sam.
I delivered Sam to the airport at precisely 7 and immediately called my sister Susan, waking her.
“Help, I did something so stupid, I left my driver’s license at Belk and I have to be at the airport before they open. Alex is going to kill me.”
We brainstormed a bit as I headed out of the airport back toward Dallas. Susan agreed to call Galleria mall security and see if they could get in touch with the Belk manager.
I drove and thought hard about what to do next.
I followed up with mall security as well. They said they had tried to reach the Belk manager to no avail. I was skeptical and told them I’d call them back in an hour.
In the meantime, Susan had Googled the name of the store manager, Salem Boohaker.
I was headed to the office to wrap up a few details at my desk and decided it was best to try and reach Salem myself.
By 7:30, I was at my TJP desk trying to decide my next steps. I left a message for Salem Boohaker on his Belk voice mail, but it was Sunday and I was doubtful he would pick it up in time. By 8 a.m. Belk customer service was open. Unfortunately, they were unable to help, mainly order takers. The lady was, however, empathic.
I decided email was the way to go and I did some more Belk research online.
I found the email address for Jessica Graham, vice president of communications/community relations for Belk. Based on her email, I decided to email Salem Boohaker and Tim Belk Jr. as well. I had nothing to lose. I figured I was screwed anyway. The clock was ticking. It was 7:52 a.m.
I wrote,
“Hello, I am the Publisher of the Texas Jewish Post in Dallas. Last night, I opened a Belk charge account and neglected to retrieve my driver’s license. Ordinarily this would not be a crisis for me, but I am scheduled to fly out on vacation to Florida this morning. If there is anyway to contact the store manager or someone that is at the store this morning, I sure would appreciate it and so would my family.
Many Thanks, Sharon Wisch-Ray”
In the meantime, I called the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to find out my options. Yes, I could fly if I had another official document, something with my picture on it, and two credit cards with my name on them exactly how I was ticketed. Marriage License, check; Sams card, check; Mastercard and American Express cards, check, check. OK, the tightness in my chest was easing. I’d make it to Boca with the boys, I just wouldn’t be able to rent a car that day.
I checked my email again. It was 8:32 a.m. when the email popped up from Salem Boohaker my knight in shining armor.
“Sharon- We have your license. Please call me on my cell so we can get this in your hands.”
The rest as they say his history. Salem had already been in touch with his assistant manager Laurie Kilharski, who was in the store already. The associate did exactly what she was supposed to do and left my license exactly where Laurie would find it.
I called Laurie on her cell phone.
“Hi, I’m so glad you called. I have your license,” she said. She told me to come to the store and she would bring it out to me.
I arrived at Belk, greeted by Laurie who not only had my driver’s license, but a travel goody bag for me.
I was home with my license in my wallet by 9:30. Everyone else in the house still fast asleep.
Thanks to the gracious, responsive customer service from Belk management, I made it to Boca as scheduled.
Many thanks to Salem Boohaker and Laurie Kilharski. In addition the flagship store at the Galleria Dallas, Belk has locations in Fort Worth at 9488 North Freeway as well as in Weatherford, 205 Adams Drive.
In addition to their modern Southern style, I can’t think of a better reason to shop there, can you?

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