It doesn't take all that much to be a good employee. But to be one of the best? Now that takes character.

The following workers saved lives, rescued sick customers, returned lost money and performed tasks that customers never thought plausible. Hats off to you all.

Check out the best employees of 2012:

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  • Ritz-Carlton Employee Sends Elmo On Vacation

    When Ritz-Carlton employee Nelson Quesada found a little girl's lost Elmo toy, he didn't return it right away. First, <a href="">he sent the toy on a vacation of its own</a>, a trip he documented for the 5-year-old owner before returning Elmo home, safe and sound. (Another Ritz-Carlton employee <a href="">performed a similar stunt</a> with a lost toy giraffe this year.)

  • Restaurant Owner Saves Woman's Life

    Every Friday for 9 years, Iris Thomsen ate lunch at Sweet Lovers Cafe in Moorabbin, Australia. One day, when she didn't show up, owner Mark Montagnani grew concerned and <a href="">went to her house</a>, where he found her on the floor with two broken hips. Hero Montagnani then took her to the hospital.

  • Krispy Kreme Employee Makes Olympic Donuts

    This year, Jia Jiang went on <a href="">a quest for rejection</a>, making outlandish requests every day for 100 days. Little did he realize that one Krispy Kreme employee would <a href="">go out of her way to make</a> the Olympic rings-style donuts that Jiang requested. The results are impressive and heartwarming.

  • Hotel Workers Give Guest A Pillow Fort

    When Gord Relph made a joking request for a vanilla Coke and a pillow fort at the Fairmont Winnipeg hotel, he didn't expect a response. But, lucky for him, the hotel has an awesome staff who gave him <a href="">supplies to make said pillow fort</a> (along with a tray of sweets).

  • Sainsbury's Changes Bread's Name

    Lily Robinson, 3, sent British supermarket Sainsbury's a letter asking them to change the name of their tiger bread to giraffe bread, since the bread <a href="">more closely resembles a giraffe's spots</a> than a tiger's stripes. Not only did Sainsbury's respond to the letter and send along a giftcard; it also officially changed the name of its bread to giraffe bread in January.

  • Cab Driver Returns $221,510 To Passenger

    Adam Woldemarim, a Las Vegas cab driver, <a href="">one day found a case filled with $221,510</a> in cash that had been left in his cab. Rather than taking the money, Woldemarim took it to the security office at Frias Transportation Management. The man who has lost the money came back to retrieve it and gave Woldemarim $2,000 as a reward.

  • Goodwill Employee Returns $3,300 In Donated Shoe

    Earlier this year, a man accidentally donated his family's entire savings <a href="">when he gave a pair of shoes</a> to Goodwill. Richard Lopez, a Goodwill worker in Texas, found the $3,300 in cash stuffed in the donated shoes and put it aside in hopes that it would be claimed. The donator's wife, who originally stashed the cash in the shoes, gratefully and tearfully claimed the money.

  • Cab Driver Lowers Post-Sandy Fare

    After superstorm Sandy hit the east coast, Dr. Sujatha Balija had to get from Philadelphia to Boston right away, and a cab was her only option. When she called a cab and explained her situation to the driver, Zohar Arzi, he drove her for the entire eight hours. The kicker? The trip normally would have cost $1,000, but <a href="">Arzi only charged Balija $750</a>.