In 1994, Anthony "Tony" Janaro was working for a contract security firm at our Gap headquarters in San Francisco.
At the security desk, the rules were clear. No one could pass through without first signing their name.
One day, a tall, bald man with a briefcase walked through. He strolled past the security desk without stopping to sign his name first.
“Sir?“ Tony called out. “You have to sign in first.”
“I have an office on the fourth floor,” the man replied clearly, without a hint of agitation.
“Still, if you can please sign in first,” Tony said, “I’ll escort you up to the fourth floor.”
So Don Fisher signed his name. Tony walked with him to the elevator, apologizing for the delay.
A few minutes later, Tony’s boss came over. “The company founder just came in,” he said, nervously.
“Oh, no,” Tony said. “I think I just had him sign in.”
They confirmed by checking the book. Yep, Don had signed his name. Tony, who had once operated a longtime candy store in New York, was sure his security job at 1 Harrison would end prematurely.
Not so. A few minutes later, Don called downstairs and spoke to a director. “Be sure you keep Tony around,” Don said. “He’s a good one.”
Tony’s still a good one.
This was one of my favorite stories Tony had ever told me. But he’s told a lot of stories to a lot of us here and he often overlooks a simple truth: he’s one of those stories.
Tony is retiring from Gap. He’s been with us for nearly 20 years – the unofficial eyes and face of our Gap HQ – eyes that will always see you from his black, elevated security desk. A voice, warm and Harlem-bred, that will always reassure you. Whether it’s a familiar greeting or a sharp quip, you’ll remember him.
When you zoom in closer, past our international expansion, pop culture and marketing campaigns, we’re known for, we’re a company of unique, passionate people. Tony is one of them. He fits right in.
Retirement will bring him closer to his family, to the things he loves and wants to do. He’s looking forward to it. A couple of days ago, he told me this: “You have to put your personality into your job.
Because I’m the first person you see at Gap, I take seriously the impression I can make. If I can put you in a better mood, you’ll probably want to do more business with us.”
There it was – that “thing” that great employees do so naturally. It’s not easy to mimic, but he nailed it.
Tony, we wish you nothing but the best in the days and years ahead.