New York Dry Cleaners Shows Act of Generosity

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," April 2, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: times are tough. People are hurting. Unemployment fear is gripping the nation. It might be hard to justify paying to even have your clothes dry-cleaned. But one dry-cleaner in New York is making an offer to unemployed people that seems very tough to refuse.

FOX's Lauren Sivan joins us live with the story - Lauren?


Just think about it. You're out of work. You have a big job interview coming up, so you want to look your best.

Well, we found one dry-cleaner who is making that possible for free.


SIVAN: Carlos Vasquez and his wife Arielle (ph) have owned their own dry-cleaning business for eight years. They have had this sign in the window for almost as long, offering to clean a suit for free if it's for a job interview.

SIVAN (on camera): When people see that sign in your window, what's their reaction?

CARLOS VASQUEZ, FIRST PROFESSIONAL CLEANERS: I have seen plenty of people just knock on my window and put their hands to their chest saying how nice it is. I have seen people of take pictures of that. It's cool, you know. It makes me feel good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have had customers actually come in the store crying. Right now, with the economy being so bad, and lot of people are noticing the sign there.

SIVAN (voiceover): And more and more customers are taking advantage of the offer. In recent weeks, around 20 people have had a freshly cleaned suit for an interview free of charge. Vasquez even attaches a personal note.

VASQUEZ: I usually write a signature on them. I put it out there for people who support me that may come into hard times. They can use it.

If you walk by, and I do not care what neighborhood you're from. If you say it, you can take advantage of it.

SIVAN: But it's not just customers who appreciate it. Letters are coming in from all over the country offering support and donations.

VASQUEZ: Here's another one from Boston, Pennsylvania, from St. Paul, Minnesota.

I had a letter her, but I don't see it. It was from a man from Waco, Texas. His name was Robert. Thank you, Robert, if you're listening.

SIVAN: Vasquez says the donations allow him to help more people. At $13 a pop, all the free dry-cleaning was coming out of his own pocket. And when it comes to weeding out the phonies, he uses his intuition.

VASQUEZ: I have always been a New Yorker, so I use my discretion, more or less.

SIVAN (on camera): You work on the honor system.

VASQUEZ: Yes, there you go. I knew there has been a phony or two, you now? But then when somebody comes in with a child and wants to use it, you know, you hate to ask for proof.

SIVAN (voiceover): Vasquez says although business has slumped a bit recently, he is one of the lucky ones.

VASQUEZ: I am able to pay my rent, pay the bills, invest in my boys education. So that is all I live for. You will never get rich in this industry, because there are so many of us. but everybody can eat, so --

SIVAN (on camera): You're happy.

VASQUEZ: Yes, I'm happy.


SIVAN: And that sign in the window, that went up right after 9/11. But Carlos and his wife say it will stay in that window there even if the economy picks up.

And for those of you out there who might be interested in that offer, or if you want to make a donation, send it to the First Professional Cleaners. They are located at 345 East 72nd Street in Manhattan.

They're not asking for donations, but it will help them continue to help others -- Greta?

VAN SUSTEREN: Lauren, wouldn't it be nice if people watching this, if you have some dry-cleaning, go to this dry-cleaners, because what a great idea. And to the extent that we can bring business to the dry-cleaners, it helps them help people.

SIVAN: Exactly, and it is. A lot of folks have seen the sign and have decided to try them out as their dry cleaners because they really appreciate what they're doing.

And this has even inspired other businesses to help out as well. They are following suit, if you will. Jos. A. Bank has a promotion going on called the "Risk free suit promotion." If you buy a suit and you lose your job, they will reimburse you and you get to keep the suit.

The CEO says they want to help customers look good at work, and if they lose their job, be dressed appropriately when they meet with new employers.

So everyone from mom and pop stores to national chains, they're all looking for ways to offer a break to their customers.

VAN SUSTEREN: What a great idea. And I hope viewers go to If you have a great idea like this, go to and post there. We may do something on it.

Lauren, thank you.

SIVAN: Sure.

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