These days, being successful and productive is cast as being a bad thing that does damage to Americans by people who don’t give a darn about anyone but themselves.

Actually, no. Here’s the story of Howard Cooper, owner of Cooper Import Center in Ann Arbor, who gave each of his 89 employees $1,000 for every year they have worked for him.

“I wanted to thank my employees and that was a way I could do it,” Cooper said of the surprise checks. “I hope it makes a difference in their lives like they have made in mine.”

Cooper received a standing ovation when the checks were distributed Wednesday morning. He did not reveal how much workers received in total, but 26-year mechanic Bob Jenkins’ check was $26,000.

“I was shocked,” Jenkins said. “You just don’t expect something like that. The whole place was just in shock. People are still talking about it.”