Coat Story Goes Viral After Unheard-of Customer Service
Kelly Kinkel says she is now a customer for life
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2016 6:45 AM CST
Kelly Kinkel says she plans to donate the unopened coat to local charity Samaritan Inn.   (Kelly Kinkel)

(Newser) – When McKinney, Texas, mom and business owner Kelly Kinkel called online shopping company Zulily to inquire about returning a coat she had purchased, she was prepared for the customary response: that she'd have to cover the shipping, or perhaps not be able to return it at all. What happened next confused her for a moment and then moved her to tears, reports Q13 Fox. As she writes in a Facebook post that has been shared nearly 50,000 times and liked more than 100,000 as of this writing, a young customer service rep named Patrick told her he'd refund her account immediately, but then gave her unusual instructions: "Please don't send it back. If you know someone who needs a winter coat or if you would like to donate it to a charity, that would make us very happy."

Kinkel is now, as she tells KSL, a "customer for life," and she hoped her story would go viral so that others "know that in a dark and dreary world, so shines a good deed." The gesture hasn't just turned her into a loyal customer, she says it's inspired her to donate the coat and other items to a local homeless shelter. Such outside-the-box customer service is seemingly becoming more common. Similar posts about the company Stitch Fix have circulated already this year: One woman wrote on Facebook that the company sent her flowers when her father's death caused her to miss her return deadline; another woman took to Facebook to post about a hand-written note and gifts the company sent upon hearing her daughter was fighting pediatric cancer. (On the other end of the spectrum, there are stories like this.)