Mom Struggling to Feed Her Kids Receives Unexpected Note From Boss

When a mom of four called Tanna Marino was called in to see her boss, she really didn't know what to expect;

To be fair, this wasn't the first 'out of the blue' call she had received recently; the other was from a television company asking her to star on their new show...little did Tanna know that after everything was said and done, her life would never be the same again.

It's stories like Tanna Marino's that help us realize just how unpredictable life can be, so read right up until the end to enjoy a tale that has more twists and turns than a Hollywood movie! Our story takes place in the state of Texas... 

Putting Food on the Table

A married mom of four living in Texas, Tanna Marino was working as hard as possible so she could care for her family and put food on the table. However, despite long hours at work, it simply wasn’t enough – life was wearing Tanna down, and each day was a real struggle. Desperate to do something that would help improve her situation, Tanna prayed for a miracle, but never in her wildest dreams was she prepared for what was to come…

An Interesting Proposal

Our story begins back in 2011 when Tanna Marino was employed by Mr. Appliance, a company centered around providing repair work and various maintenance services – Mr. Appliance was a franchise of parent company Dwyer Group. One day, quite randomly, Tanna received an interesting proposal to star in a TV pilot – but as things developed, it would soon become clear that this television show was not exactly what it seemed and so began a sequence of events that would eventually change Tanna’s life forever…

TV Star

When Tanna Marino was invited to star in a brand new TV show, she was very intrigued; who wouldn’t be? If somebody calls you on the phone and offers you a unique opportunity, you can’t help but be interested. All Tanna knew at the beginning was that the show was called Don’t Quit Your Day Job and, given the opportunity to become a potential television star, Tanna said yes. However, as it turns out, that wasn’t the REAL name of the show…

Working Undercover

As soon became clear, the show wasn’t called Don’t Quit Your Day Job; it was actually an episode of a different show, a CBS program called Undercover Boss: as you can probably guess, the way Undercover Boss works is a top-level manager at a company gets to observe the working practices of an employee who is lower down in the organization. The manager remains anonymous of course, and by doing so, is able to see exactly how their employee works…

A Tough Decision

Of course, while they were making the show, Tanna still thought it was called Don’t Quit Your Day Job, and she explained what she believed was happening to the Houston Chronicle back in 2013: “As far as I knew, someone would be working with me for the day and after that, they would have a big choice to make…they could either return to their current job or they could quit what they were doing and do something completely different.”

An Important Phone Call

As for Tanna’s own professional working background, the story of how she became a technician is an interesting (and fairly ironic) one; when her refrigerator broke one day, she obviously wanted to have it repaired as quickly as possible; picking up the phone, she rang Mr. Appliance (who would, of course, end up being her future employers!) and spoke to someone who then tried to recruit her husband Michael as a technician – at the time, Michael was working as a firefighter…

Looking for a Job

By all accounts, Tanna’s husband Michael was happy in his job as a firefighter but regardless of that or anything else, Tanna was very interested in the job for herself; the Mr. Applicance technician she was speaking to on the phone explained that the role was also as a technician for the company and Tanna, who had been a stay-at-home mom for five years, was very much ready and willing to go back to work: so, she applied for the role…

A New Job

…Following her successful application for the job, Tanna soon began her training for the role of an appliance technician; fast forward two years later and she was now being filmed for a new TV show, where a woman she didn’t know was following her around in order to see if she wanted to make a career change; at least, that’s what Tanna Marino THOUGHT was happening…the new ‘worker’ had brown eyes, long dark hair and was introduced as Faith Brown…

A Mysterious Stranger

But life is full of surprises and soon enough, Tanna Marino was going to learn just HOW surprising life could actually be! She was currently being filmed as she went about a normal working day (well as ‘normal’ as a day can be when you’re being trailed by a camera crew!) as a new, mysterious co-worker with long dark hair and kind brown eyes followed her every move: of course, Tanna still didn’t have a clue who this person really was…

The Boss

It was obviously kept a secret from Tanna who this mysterious co-worker was during the early stages of the TV show, but the audience was in on the exciting secret right from the start: the ‘co-worker’ was none other than Dina Dwyer-Owens, the chief executive of Tanna’s firm, The Dwyer Group. In order to keep her identity hidden, Dina had altered her eye color and hairstyle so that the people who worked for her wouldn’t be able to recognize her…

First Impressions

As the show progressed, Tanna still didn’t have a clue who ‘Faith Brown’ really was; later on, in 2013, she was asked to share her first impressions of her new co-worker with the Houston Chronicle: “She had these really long and beautiful fingernails,” Tanna explained. “She was wearing pearls and had long curly hair.” But Tanna didn’t stop there; what she said next about ‘Faith’ turned out to be particularly interesting after her true identity was eventually revealed to Tanna…

An Interesting Statement

When Tanna Marino was asked to continue sharing her first impressions of the mysterious woman who was shadowing her at work for a new TV show (a person she believed was called Faith Brown), after first commenting on ‘Faith’s’ appearance, Tanna revealed the following: “To be honest with you, my first impression was that whatever her current job was, she was probably doing it from behind a desk…she certainly wasn’t working in a blue-collar job or anything like that.”

Getting Closer

As it turns out, ‘Faith Brown’ and Tanna Marino got on extremely well during the two days they spent working closely together and when Tanna was asked to explain her overall impression of her new co-worker, she would go on to describe Faith as ‘very polite and very friendly’; in fact, the two women got on so well that Tanna even introduced Faith to her firefighter husband Michael and their four children of various ages. And that was just the beginning…

A Twist in the Tale

Life is full of many twists and turns and it’s incredible to think back to some of the seemingly insignificant choices we’ve made which eventually lead to something incredible; a perfect example of this is what happened when Tanna Marino innocently invited her new co-worker ‘Faith Brown’ (who was really her boss dressed undercover!) to meet her family – a husband and four children. As things would eventually prove, a conversation that occurred on that fateful day changed Tanna’s life forever.

Thinking About the Past

However much this is Tanna Marino’s story, in a way, it is also partly Dina Dwyer-Owens’. During the filming of Undercover Boss in 2012, where she initially played the role of ‘Faith Brown’ so that Tanna didn’t know who she really was, Dwyer-Owen spoke of her past, and what she said will prove familiar to many people – when she was much younger, Dina’s father wasn’t around a lot of the time because he was busy developing his company, the Dwyer Group…

Family Matters

While she was being filmed for Undercover Boss, Dina Dwyer-Owens began speaking about her past and what she revealed clearly influenced her decision regarding Tanna Marino: “I just couldn’t help but think back to my own past, my childhood, and especially about my father…he was an amazing dad but the truth is he wasn’t home a lot of the time. For example, it was rare that he would be at home while the rest of us would still be awake.”

Guardian Angel

When Tanna revealed to ‘Faith Brown’ during the filming of Undercover Boss that she was struggling financially and thinking about taking a second job, it couldn’t help but strike a chord with Dina Dwyer-Owens: “One of my major concerns, when I was talking with Tanna, was she said that both she and her husband were working yet she still needed a second job to make ends meet.” Taking into account what happened next, clearly, Dwyer-Owen wasn’t going to let that happen…

The Big Reveal

Soon enough, filming of Don’t Quit Your Day Job (or at least that’s what Tanna believed was the name of the show!) was completed and Marino was invited over to her boss’ house…it was there that the ‘big reveal’ took place and quite incredibly, she learned the truth about everything: what the show was really called and who the person who’d been following her around for two days really was. Needless to say, the mother of four was left completely speechless…

A Reward for ‘Being You’

As you can imagine, filming Undercover Boss isn’t easy, and the people involved in the show have to keep various secrets (all for a good cause, obviously) – by the time of the big reveal at Dwyer-Owens’ home, Dina was very emotional and the scene between her and Tanna was extremely genuine and touching. Dina just about managed to keep it together as she gave Tanna a lump sum of $25,000, something she referred to as a reward simply ‘for being you’.

Another Gift

But that was just the start of Dina’s incredible display of generosity. Again, thinking back to her childhood and how her father wasn’t around as much as she’d have liked because of how hard he was working, Dina was determined not to allow Tanna to fall into the same trap with her own kids, which is what would happen if she took a second job: so Dina made sure $10,000 was put aside as a scholarship fund for Tanna’s children. Incredible.

From One Woman to Another

Dina Dwyer-Owens’ generosity only continued; she went on to tell Tanna how much she admired her for succeeding in an industry which is typically dominated by men and then provided an extra $5,000 so that Tanna could use it to create ‘Women in the Trades’, a program specifically designed to aid females who were working in – or studying – the trades. The fund made sure money was made readily available as a contribution towards any books, fees, general tuition or travel.

Dina’s Motivation

Throughout the filming of the show in 2012, one big question remained and the time had finally come to answer it: why exactly did Dina Dwyer-Owens, a very successful businesswoman who had no real need to put herself or her company in the limelight, agree to take part in a show like Undercover Boss? Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dina’s main reasons for appearing on the show made complete sense, given what we have already learned about her and her family values…

Meeting Certain Standards

When explaining why she decided to put herself forward to appear on Undercover Boss in 2012, Dina Dwyer-Owens’ reasons were very simple and mainly motivated by her relationship with her father; she wanted to make sure the company upheld his core beliefs: “My goal when deciding to go undercover,” Dina explained, “was to try and work out how we were doing as a company. Are we really meeting the standards and values that my dad founded the company on?”

The Perfect Employee

After explaining her own reasons for appearing on the show, Dina made sure the focus returned to Tanna Marino and she had nothing but incredibly positive things to say about the now clearly emotional mother of four; pulling Tana in for a big hug, Dina told her that she was the perfect example of the type of employee her late father Don Dwyer would have wanted. Rather than just stopping there, what Dina said next made Tanna even more emotional…

You’re Amazing!

After explaining that Tanna Marino was the perfect embodiment of the type of employee her father Dom Dwyer would have wanted working at his company, Dina Dwyer-Owens could easily have stopped there, but she wanted to make sure Tanna knew just how much she was valued, and not just as an employee: Dina also commented on Tanna’s qualities as a human being outside of the work environment. “You’re an amazing technician,” Dina told Tanna. “You’re also an incredible wife and mother.”

Everything Has Changed

When all this began, Tanna thought she was appearing on a TV pilot for a show called Don’t Quit Your Day Job – but the truth was something else entirely! Following the revelation that she was on a show called Undercover Boss, Tanna’s life changed forever, as she explained to the Houston Chronicle: “The money I received changed my life in every way imaginable. The cash that Dina gave me meant my family could move to a bigger home.” And that wasn’t all…

An Added Bonus

The changes in Tanna’s life following her appearance on Undercover Boss went far beyond the financial; of course, being able to move to a bigger home when you are raising four children is absolutely incredible, but what Tanna revealed next only made things even more heartwarming and proved once again what her main priorities were: “I’m actually able to work from home now. My hours are far more flexible which means I can spend more time with my kids.”

Onwards & Upwards

But all this still wasn’t the end of Tanna’s amazing journey. She and Dina had obviously created a bond while they were working together on the show and this allowed Tanna the opportunity to tell Dina some of her ideas and showcase her various skills – and it really paid off! Tanna was eventually offered the role of a franchise consultant and she is now also in charge of the Women in Trades program that she helped to set up.

Keeping Busy

Tanna Marino’s role with the Women in Trades program means that she is actively hiring other women to join her in the Dwyer group and, when speaking to the Houston Oracle, she explained what some of her biggest obstacles and challenges are: “In my new role with the Women in Trades program, I’ve mainly been concentrating on attempting to spread more awareness about our scholarship program. We really, really want to have more women working in all our different brands.”

A Very Happy Ending…But What Happened Next?

Tanna Marino’s life has changed forever since she appeared on Undercover Boss and sometimes, she’s even recognized on the streets! When she was asked by the Houston Chronicle to look back at the entire experience, she only had incredibly positive things to say about what happened to her: “The entire experience has been nothing less than phenomenal,” she told the Chronicle. “Not only do I work for a wonderful company, I get to do what I love.” But what happened next?

What a Difference a Year Makes

What a crazy and life-changing experience Tanna Marino went through! A year after her boss Dina Dwyer-Owens put on a black wig and some jewelry in order to convince her that she was ‘Faith Brown’, Tanna’s career is going from strength to strength. It is very amusing to think that during the filming of the show Undercover Boss, Tanna told ‘Faith’ that she would have to lose her nails! That was her BOSS! Since then, what a year Tanna has had…

A Brand New Role

The year after she appeared on the show, Cypress native Tanna Marino turned what proved to be a fairy tale ending into a new beginning – this was mentioned earlier, but now we can go into more detail! She has gone from being an appliance technician to what is known as a corporate consultant. This new role allows Tanna to spend more quality time with her family and she encourages other women to get out of the office and into the field.

From Strength to Strength

While Dina Dwyer-Owens met with three other employees, Tanna Marino stood out due to her ability to make a mark in what was a typically male-dominated field – while still managing to support a young family! She ended up handing Tanna a collective $35,000, $10,000 of which was specifically to create a scholarship fund for her kids. An extra $5,000 was to be used in order to create the aforementioned ‘Women in the Trades’ program, which has gone from strength to strength.

Everything Has Changed

Today, Tanna Marino can only reemphasize just how much her life ‘has changed in every possible way’ following the show, and that the cash Dina Dwyer-Ownes gave her allowed her family to move into a bigger home. Now, she has plenty more opportunities to spend time with her kids, as she has been given the rare luxury of being able to work from home. And that is only the start! Tanna’s new role also allows her to have an influence elsewhere…

Pay it Forward

One of the biggest positives from appearing on the show Undercover Boss is it helped Tanna realize her potential – not only did it make Tanna more confident, it also allowed her the opportunity to share some of her wonderful ideas with the company president. This would ultimately lead to another new aspect of her position within the company, namely as a consultant. Today, Tanna loves her new position, which sees her looking to help women like her succeed at Mr. Appliance.

There’s Still Work to Be Done

With all the incredible changes in her life over the past year, what’s the biggest obstacle Tanna currently faces? In her own words, her biggest challenge has been ‘trying to spread awareness of the scholarship program’. She aims to have as many women working as possible in the company’s different brands, and the best way of achieving this is via the scholarship program. According to Tanna, ‘the program is a great way for the women to get the required training’.

Looking Back

Looking back at her entire experience, Tanna only has the most incredibly positive things to say. “More than anything,” she claims, “my experience when taken as a whole has been absolutely phenomenal. Obviously, I work for a fantastic company, doing a job that I love. My entire experience with the Dwyer Group has been nothing short of incredible.” If someone contacts you to be on a reality television show, who knows, maybe you’ll have an experience similar to Tanna Marino’s!