My Boss Never Responded to My Greetings [Story of the Day]
A man who disliked his boss for his stand-offish ways learned too late that he had misjudged his character.
Back in 2008, my world fell apart. I went from being an affluent man with his own brokerage company and his own home to living in my car with my wife and two teenage children.
I was desperate for a job, any job, so when I saw an ad for a position as a watchman and gatekeeper at a private home, I applied. The money wasn't great, but the position came with a small one-bedroom apartment over the garage.
I took the job just to get my family off the streets. I thought that even though the salary wasn't great, I'd at least be able to feed my family, but I was wrong. One of my former clients threatened to sue, so I agreed to pay over 40% of my small salary every month.
My wife and I agreed that whatever food we could afford to buy would go to the children, so she started making dinner early and telling them we'd eat later. And we did, whatever was leftover was our meal, and sometimes there wasn't much at all.
My job consisted of standing watch, opening and closing the gates, and patrolling the grounds, ensuring that everything was in order, that the alarms were on, and the cameras were working.
My rounds brought me around the back, to where the kitchen staff scraped out the leftovers into the garbage bins before taking them outside and leaving them on the curb. One afternoon I was so hungry, I went looking for scraps in the bins.
I can't tell you the desperation and the shame that overcame me when I found myself avidly eating half a hamburger and a handful of stale french fries out of that bin. That was the lowest point of my life.
To my joy, I found an intact foil container with leftover pasta I could take to my wife. I realized then how much I had taken for granted in my former life. How many times had my wife and I thrown out food because the kids didn't fancy leftovers?
I finally understood the reason behind my boss' taciturn silence and his apparent haughtiness.
I thought I saw someone watching me from a window. It was my boss. He was a man in his sixties, who obviously thought himself too important to speak to his employees, and never responded when I greeted him when I opened the gates.
I turned my back and walked away stiffly, but I could feel him watching me from the window that overlooked the pool. That night, my wife and I shared that pasta after the children went to bed, and the next morning we were in for a surprise.
Sitting outside our door was a large brown paper bag with vegetables, milk, a pound of hamburger meat, potatoes, and a selection of fruit. Who could have placed it there? My wife and I wept with gratitude, and that night we had a family dinner for the first time in a long, long while.
The next day, there was another bag of groceries on our doorstep. This time it contained a chicken, sugar, coffee, flour, butter, and a big loaf of crusty bread. The bag was on our doorstep every day for the next two years, and then it stopped.
One day my wife opened the door, confident she'd find that bag, and it just wasn't there. We still had groceries, but within days the cupboard was almost bare. Then another shock hit us. The boss, who'd been in hospital for some kind of operation, was dead.
I was frightened I'd lose my job, but everything went on as usual. After a few weeks, my wife persuaded me to ask my boss' wife for a raise. I knocked on the door and asked to speak to her, and was taken into her office.
She was a kindly-looking lady, always friendly, but now she looked pale and sad. I explained that what I earned wasn't enough to feed my family, and I needed a raise. Her response stunned me.
"Why?" she asked me, "You've been here for two and a half years; why do you need a raise now?"
I reluctantly told her the story about the daily bag of groceries, and she started crying. "My husband had me prepare seven bags of groceries every day for people in need. I found the first six. I didn't know the seventh was you."
The boss I'd thought was haughty and unpleasant was, in fact, a good and kindly man who'd been helping out people he knew were struggling to feed their families. I felt deeply ashamed of myself for misjudging him.
My boss's wife told me I'd be getting a raise and that the daily grocery delivery would continue for as long as I needed it in her husband's memory. That evening I heard a noise outside and opened the door.
My boss' young son was carefully putting the grocery bag on my doorstep. "Thank you," I said, "You don't know what it means to us..."
But the young man turned away without answering. I reached out and touched his shoulder. He turned and looked at me. "Sorry...Did you say something?"
I nodded. "I said thank you; this means a lot to us. I misjudged your father. He was so...quiet...I never realized he was so kind."
The young man who had been watching my lips carefully smiled. "He didn't hear you. He was almost deaf, you see, like me. People sometimes thought he was rude, but he was the kindest man."
I felt my eyes flood with tears as I finally understood the reason behind my boss's taciturn silence and his apparent haughtiness. I vowed never to judge anyone ever again and one day to pass on that wonderful man's legacy of kindness to those in need.
Any resemblance in this story to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a cheating husband who dared to bring his girlfriend into the house while his wife was asleep.