Real Estate Firm Gifts Employees $10 Million Bonus

St. John Properties in Maryland found a big way to say thank you to its employees this holiday season

(BALTIMORE, MARYLAND) This Christmas, founder and chairman of St. John Properties Edward St. John gave his employees a “life-changing” Christmas gift: $10 million dollars of bonuses spread between the small company’s 198 employees, CBS News reports.

Bonuses were awarded based on years served at the company and were given in addition to the yearly bonuses employees normally receive. The video shows astounded employees as they open their red envelopes naming their gift—jaws drop, and some wipe away tears. The average award was $50,000; the highest was $270,000.

“I was totally blown away when this happened,” one employee said to CBS News. Daniella Valenzia, an accounts payable specialist who has been with the company for 19 years, called the gift “magical,” before breaking into tears of gratitude, the Baltimore Sun reports.

St. John wanted to share the glory as the company reached a huge milestone: 20 million square feet of commercial and residential real estate developed in eight states. The 81-year-old founder established St. John Properties in 1971 with a team of just two employees and set forth his ambitious goal of developing 20 million square feet of property in 2005. The company had developed 10 million square feet of property at the time, and St. John told the Baltimore Sun he thought it would take another 40 years develop the next 10 million. With the help of his devoted team, it only took 14.

“I am thankful for every one of our employees for their hard work and dedication. I couldn’t think of a better way to show it,” St. John told CBS.

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