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Taco John's: A whole lot of cooperation going on

Todd Harapat knows his boss does a lot to help her employees. So when he saw an opportunity to give something back during difficult times he jumped at it.

Harapat is the manager at the Taco John's in Rosemount. He was watching CNN on the restaurant's TV one day recently when he saw a story about a Michigan restaurant where employees had donated a day of their time. Harapat liked the idea, so he brought it to his crew.

"I just offered the option to the people who were working that day and they were all willing," Harapat said.

Seventeen of Harapat's 20 employees agreed to work all or part of their day for free.

"I've got some that are donating a full day and some that are donating three hours," he said. "It's amazing how they all stepped up."

Owner Cindy Pasbrig said times have been tough at the restaurant.

"Everything right now is tight," she said. "I don't want to lay off employees or cut things down."

Pasbrig has always looked out for employees at the Rosemount restaurant. She's brought in pizza. And she's worked hard to protect employees during difficult times.

"I know she's to the point where, she's got season tickets to the Wild and she's turning around and selling all her season tickets to pay the bills and not hurt us," Harapat said.

Pasbrig said she teared up when Harapat told her what he'd done. They were talking about invoices -- things like the restaurant's $2,000 electric bill -- when Harapat told her she'd be getting a little something back.

"It was a pretty good feel-good deal," she said.