Jewelers Sharing with Jewelers: Edmond Bakos's Success with Relieve
The first sign of trouble for Edmond Bakos of Mona Clara Jewellers was restlessness at night. Usually a sound sleeper, he had begun a nightly pattern of wakefulness for two hours or more at a time.
“It would start in my head, seeing things and thinking things,” Edmond said. “I would try to distract and comfort myself by thinking about the good things in life, but it didn’t work. The thoughts about what had happened would rush back.”
Two weeks before, at 11 a.m. on the day after Canada’s Thanksgiving holiday, two individuals entered Edmond’s store. They were wearing burqas, the concealing outer garment and face cover worn by women in some Islamic traditions. One was carrying a purse.
Edmond and the other store associate working that day soon realized, however, that these weren’t women at all. They were disguised and armed men bent on robbing the store.
“They pulled their guns and pointed them right at us. One told me to open the showcases and the other told my associate to take him to our vault,” Edmond said.
The robbers were in the store for approximately seven minutes. They found and took from the vault a box of loose diamonds ranging in mass from 0.50 to 2 carats. They also made off with diamond wedding rings and wedding bands from the showcases, and two customers’ items from behind the counter.
Later, surveillance video and the police investigation would show that the criminals escaped on foot, hopped a fence, and ran to a getaway car parked on a street behind the store.
“Fortunately, there was no physical harassment or abuse,” Edmond said.
The criminals were verbally forceful and, of course, armed, but did not resort to violence of any kind. “When they pulled their weapons, I told my associate to follow their orders and give them what they want,” Edmond said, adding that he thought cooperating helped to protect him and his female coworker from harm.
Initially, Edmond felt unfazed. “At first I was at ease. I rationalized, telling myself that these things happen. Banks and jewellery stores are common targets. You expect it.”
However, as Edmond worked with police on the investigation and worked with Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company on the claim, his rehashing and reliving the events of that day began to take a toll. He gradually became more preoccupied, ultimately to the point of sleeplessness.
According to Edmond, his difficulty coping in the aftermath of the robbery occurred despite an insurance-claim process that exceeded his expectations.
“You hear so often about insurance companies that try to find ways not to pay. That was not the case with Jewelers Mutual. Instead, Jewelers Mutual clearly demonstrated their commitment to paying the claim and restoring my business.”
The breakthrough for Edmond happened when he received an email from Mary Van Gompel, his Jewelers Mutual claims adjuster, informing him of a brand new post-trauma counseling benefit, called RELI(E)VE, that Jewelers Mutual had implemented only days before the robbery of Mona Clara Jewellers occurred.
With the email and a follow-up phone call, Mary informed Edmond that, as a benefit of his Jewelers Mutual policy and at no extra charge, Edmond could receive counseling from the professionals at Ceridian LifeWorks, one of North America’s leading providers of crisis-support and workplace-related counseling services.
Edmond’s sleep disturbance had become pronounced and he was very interested in getting help.
“My family and friends had really been there for me, offering to listen and help. But I felt the need to speak with a professional and get at the root of what was going on in my mind,” Edmond said.
Eager to use the RELI(E)VE Program, Edmond called LifeWorks and set up a telephone counseling appointment for that evening, a time when he knew activity at the store would settle down. “They were very accommodating to get me an appointment on the same day,” Edmond said.
When the time for the call arrived, Edmond retired to a private room. “I spoke with a counselor for about 45 minutes. She was very professional and said things to comfort me and put my mind at ease,” he said.
Edmond added that, although the outpouring of support from family and friends was greatly appreciated and helpful, “I felt more comfortable talking with the counselor.”
Miraculously, after this one phone call, Edmond was sleeping through the night again. Although the RELI(E)VE Program allows for ongoing care through follow-up calls or in person sessions, Edmond hasn’t felt the need. “They left the door open, reminding me that, if I want to talk to or see a counselor, they are there for me.”