Spoiled Guy Humiliates a Poor Janitor – Story of the Day
An arrogant young up-and-coming stockbroker lands a job in his dream company and ends up picking on the company's janitor.
Michael Gordon was on his way to the top. He had landed a job at a top commodities brokerage, and that night he had something to celebrate. He had just closed a deal with Thailand that would earn the company over a million in commissions.
Michael jumped on top of his desk and started doing a victory dance in the empty office. He threw a pile of papers up into the air and screamed as they floated down: "I'm the King of the World!" But when he turned, he saw that he wasn't alone.
Standing in the doorway, with his arms folded across his chest next to a janitor's cart, was a slim man. "So..." The man said, "What are you celebrating?"
"I've been here only a week, and I've just made the company a million dollars...I'm on my way to a promotion, old man!"
The man smiled. "Well done, that's great...But...Who's going to clean up this mess."
Michael sauntered over to the janitor. "Listen, old man; I make money you clean up. I do my job; now you do yours."
The janitor could ruin Michael's chances at that promotion he wanted with a few words.
The man frowned. "My job is to clean up, but you made that mess deliberately. That's disrespectful to the office and your co-workers. I think..."
"You are not paid to think, old man; you are paid to serve me. So shut up and get busy, or I will have you fired." Smirking, Michael picked up a large jar of paperclips and emptied it on the floor. "Clean up!"
Michael walked into the office the next day, feeling on top of the world. He ran into the company's CEO, Mr. Keaton, and immediately started telling him about his amazing coup.
"Sir, yesterday I closed that deal with Thailand..."
"Good, Gordon, I want that report on my desk."
"But sir, I wanted to ask you..."
"Sorry, Gordon, I have a meeting." As Michael watched, Mr. Keaton walked into his office. The janitor was in there, and he wasn't cleaning! Me. Keaton greeted the old man warmly and closed the door behind him.
Startled, Michael walked over to Mr. Keaton's secretary and asked: "What's up with the janitor?"
The secretary smiled. "Oh, Mr. Parker is Mr. Keaton's most valued employee! Keeps him up to date on what's going on around here."
In other words, Michael thought, the janitor was Mr. Keaton's snitch! The janitor could ruin Michael's chances at that promotion he wanted with a few words... Then Michael smiled. He knew how to deal with snitches.
Later that afternoon, Michael walked into Mr. Parker's tiny supply room. "Mr. Parker!" he smiled, "It looks like we got off on the wrong foot!"
Mr. Parker looked at Michael with a shrewd look on his face. "We did?"
"Yes," said Michael, "But I'm about to make it right. Look, I know you could make trouble for me, and I'm willing to make it worth your while to keep mum."
"Worth my while?" Mr. Parker stared at Michael in surprise. The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out a thick wad of cash which he tucked into Mr. Parker's breast pocket.
"Remember, Mr. Parker; there's more where that came from...Silence is golden..." Michael raised a finger to his lips, winked, and walked away, sure that his problem was resolved.
He was in for a surprise. A few hours later, he opened his laptop and found the money he'd given Mr. Parker inside. A small note stated:
"Silence is golden, but the truth is worth more than diamonds."
Michael was furious. He decided to speak to Mr. Keaton. He knocked on his boss's door. "Mr. Keaton, might I have a word?"
Mr. Keaton was busy delicately trimming one of his beloved orchids. "Of course, Gordon, is there a problem'"
"Well, sir, I saw you talking to the janitor...And I wondered what the CEO could have to do with him."
"Mr. Parker is one of this company's most valuable collaborators."
Michael couldn't help laughing. "A JANITOR?"
Mr. Keaton frowned. "He's been with us from the beginning, and he's never made a single mistake. And I value his opinion; the human factor is very important."
"Well, thank you, sir, for helping me understand."
Michael walked away thinking, then he smiled. "Mr. Parker is about to make the biggest mistake of all time!" He walked up to the janitor's cart and saw his watering can on top.
A flash of inspiration lit up Michael's imagination. There was no one around, so he carefully topped up the water in the watering can with a lye-based cleaning fluid. Mr. Parker was about to make his first mistake.
The next morning Michael walked in to see a cleaning crew taking out dozens of dead plants, including Mr. Keaton's beloved orchids. He couldn't stop grinning. He asked one of the cleaning crew: "Are you guys new?"
"Yes, sir. We were called in this morning. Some change in the company policy."
It had worked! Mr. Parker was GONE! Michael was safe! His phone rang, and Mr. Keaton's secretary called him in. Michael turned to his colleagues with a grin: "This is it, boys! I'm getting that promotion!"
Michael strutted into Mr. Keaton's office confidently, only to come face to face with Mr. Parker sitting in the CEO's chair. Mr. Keaton said: "Well, Gordon, I believe you've met the company's majority shareholder?"
Michael felt the blood drain out of him: "Sir? I...Yes...I..."
Mr. Parker smiled. "We met informally, isn't that right, Gordon?"
"Sir, Mr. Parker...Please...Let me apologize; I didn't know..." Michael stammered.
"You weren't supposed to, Gordon. You were expected to act decently and treat everyone with respect," said Mr. Keaton. "I have decided that even though you've made us a lot of money, you're not the kind of man I want representing our firm."
Mr. Parker stood up. "You have a brilliant career ahead of you, Gordon," said Mr. Parker, "But not here."
Michael was devastated. He had been so sure that he was the best -- but he had shown himself to be a man with a sordid character. He straightened his shoulders and stretched out his hand to shake Mr. Parker's. "Thank you for the lesson, sir. I'll never forget it."
Mr. Parker ignored Michael's outstretched hand and smiled. "Good luck Gordon, and get going."
Michael's arrogance and his dishonesty and vindictiveness cost him the opportunity of a lifetime, and it was a lesson he would never forget. Years later, he would thank Mr. Parker for helping him become a better man.
What we can learn from Michael's story:
1. Respect everyone and treat them equally. Michael thought that because Mr. Parker was a janitor, he was his inferior, and he could order him around.
2. Pride comes before a fall. Michael's arrogance caused his initial problem and ended up making his situation even worse. Humility is a valuable quality-
3. Integrity is worth more than money. Michael learned that to his company, being honest, respectful, and ethical was more important than any amount of money he could make.
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Any resemblance in this story to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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