When Howard Cooper sold his Ann Arbor, Michigan car dealership earlier this year he made sure employee retention was part of the deal.

In these tough economic times, that alone would make him a hero to Howard Cooper Import Center's 89 workers. But the 83-year-old took things to a whole other level of generosity last week.

Instead of just saying goodbye and thanking everybody for their efforts, Cooper handed each of his employees a check containing $1,000 for every year they had worked for him. Cooper had owned the dealership for 47 years and some employees, like Sandy Reagan, had been with him almost the entire time.

"The lady behind me had tears running down her face,' explained Reagan, who had worked for Cooper for 46 years. "I sat next to a person who drives the parts van and he's been here almost 28 years. He doesn't make a ton of money, but he got almost $28,000."

According to Cooper, he'd always seen his employees as a big part of why he'd been successful so sharing the wealth with them upon his retirement was a no-brainer.

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