By the time I arrived at my office the following morning, I had an idea. I wanted to achieve the same result with all the teachers in my hometown of Santa Clarita that I had seen with my high school teacher at Starbucks. That was definitely a bit of a loftier goal, with six school districts, sixty schools and hundreds of teachers in the valley.

I started with the business that I had the most control over my local pest-control business, “No Bugs.” I put together a simple ad and posted it on Facebook and Instagram that same day. It said:

“No Bugs Loves Teachers. Free Pest Control to all of our teachers for the summer. No initial setup fee, no monthly cost.”

My only intent was to offer the teachers in Santa Clarita Valley a service they could benefit from if needed – to be bug-free during the summer when the most bugs bug us!

I didn’t expect the response we got. A few teachers started calling the office and signing up almost immediately, which of course we had anticipated and hoped for. But family and friends of teachers started calling the office and signing up as well. Even though they weren’t teachers themselves, they wanted to support a business that showed support for teachers. Suddenly, we had a much more regular business than normal.

The word started getting out more and more from there. A local magazine picked up the story and started running an ad to bring even more attention to our offer. After that, teachers were calling constantly from all over the city asking if the offer was real. One teacher who saw the ad while we were at a home and garden expo even started crying out of gratitude for our show of support. It sounded too good to be true! It was the best feeling to be able to tell her and so many others that it was true and to personally get to thank them for the work they do.

It then occurred to me that I ought to inform our current customers about what we were doing and our reasoning behind it. I was concerned about their feelings – I wondered whether they’d be upset that we were offering a free service to others, the same service they pay hard-earned money for. We sent out an email thanking them for their loyalty and telling them about the promotion. It went on to say, “YOU – our valued customers – also deserve a thank you for helping our local teachers. Without you hiring and trusting No Bugs over the years, we wouldn’t be in a position to help the way we’re helping.”

The following week, our phones rang off the hook and my inbox was constantly flooded. Our customers were so impressed and happy to be included that they were reaching out to thank us! They started referring other people to us, resulting in us getting even more business than we’d ever had before. Some people who called to sign up said they didn’t even have any bugs—they just wanted to support a business that gave back to teachers!

My heart was so full. I realized that so many people felt exactly what I had been feeling over the last few months – a sense of gratitude and indebtedness to the incredible educators who had changed their lives and their children’s lives. So many individuals shared stories with me of that one special teacher who put them on the right path and helped them when they needed it most. The public was ready and willing to show their support for teachers. Many just didn’t know how.