The founder of Digg, Kevin Rose recently received an e-mail from a friend working at an Apple Store in Tokyo, Japan, detailing the steps that Apple employees took right after the devastating 8.9 earthquake that struck last Friday afternoon. His friend details how the staff stayed calm as the building swayed and how they led people from the top five floors of the building, down to the first floor where they took shelter under the large wooden display tables that are a staple at every Apple Store in the world. As the earthquake hit these tables offered everyone protection from potential injury. Fortunately, there were no injuries reported at this Apple Store location.
The Apple Store is one of the few places in Tokyo that offers customers free Wi-Fi service, so people flocked to the store to contact family members. Apple employees not only kept the store open, but the staff brought out surge protectors and extension cords to help people keep their devices charged and running. They also offered assistance to few Android users as well. Even after the store closed at 10pm, people crowded around outside the store to use it’s free Wi-Fi, long into the night. Although the store closed at 10pm, some employees stayed up until 3am helping people stay in contact with their relatives and also offering tech support when needed.
The e-mail goes on to say, “Because the trains and phones were down, almost everyone who worked in Tokyo was stranded deep in the city. All the hotels were booked, the roads were jammed, so hundreds of people were instantly homeless. Apple told all of their staff - Retail AND Corporate - that they could go sleep at the Apple stores. The Senior managers at the stores had been notified earlier and unbeknownst to us, had gone out to stock up on food and drinks after the very first quake hit.”
The Apple store in Tokyo continues to offer help connecting friends and relatives to one another during this difficult time. With so much devastation all around them, just knowing that family members are alive and well can make all the difference in the world.