A wealthy man discovered his beloved only son is not the young man he thought he was and decided to teach him a life lesson.
John Reach loved his only son David and was very proud of him. John was a successful, wealthy man, but he'd made his fortune the hard way. He had grown up poor and remembering his deprivations, he poured every luxury on his son.
David was 17 when John realized he'd made a bad mistake, and that his son would be paying for it if he couldn't rectify it. He had to find a way to open his son's eyes to real life, to teach him empathy and compassion. John found a way...
A coffee shop | Source: Shutterstock
It all started on the morning David got his longed-for driver's license. John had arranged to meet his son for brunch at his favorite cafe. He arrived first, and he was settled in when David made his entrance.
David spotted his father sitting by the window, and he immediately started hurrying towards him, eager to share his news. He was in such a hurry that he didn't see a young waiter carrying a tray.
David barreled into the young man and sent his tray flying. "What did you do?" screamed David angrily, "You stupid dolt! You spilled coffee on my shirt!"
The waiter was desperately trying to pick up the pieces of broken china littering the ground. "I'm so sorry sir, I didn't see you..."
Young man in a car | Source: Unsplash
"Are you blind?" David screeched. "Don't you look where you are going? Get away from me!" David walked past the waiter and headed for his father's table. "Dad! Did you see what just happened?"
"Hello son," John said. "Yes, I saw. I hope you apologized."
David, who had been dabbing at his shirt with a napkin, looked up at his father in astonishment. "Apologize? Why would I apologize to a lowlife freak like that? He's ruined my shirt."
"David, you were the one who bumped into him. I saw you," John said quietly.
David had wealth, but he was selfish and lacked empathy and respect for others.
An empty restaurant | Source: Unsplash
David waved a dismissive hand. "My shirt is worth more than he earns in a month! Listen, dad, I have something to talk to you about. Remember how we talked about getting me a car when I got my license? Well, there's this sweet little Porsche.."
"A Porsche? David, that car costs $50,000 and you're just seventeen...," John pointed out.
"Come on dad, it's not like we can't afford it!" David exclaimed.
At that moment the young waiter came to their table. "Good morning," he said. "And how may I help you?"
Waiter with a customer | Source: Unsplash
David was irritated at being interrupted in the middle of his pitch. "You could get lost," he snapped. "Can't you see we're talking?" The young man looked flustered and confused and John stepped in.
"Good morning, young man. I would like a croissant and an espresso, please," he said with a smile.
David scowled. "I'll have a lactose-free latte and an eclair. Lactose-free, you get it?" The young man nodded and left to put in the order. David turned back to the conversation about the car. "So what do you say, dad?"
"I say no," John said sharply. "David, did you see how you talked to that waiter? You were rude..."
A sports car | Source: Unsplash
"That loser? Why are you so worried about him? About my car..." At that moment the waiter returned and set out their order. David took a sip of his latte and sputtered. "This is not lactose-free! Are you trying to kill me?"
"I'm so sorry sir, I must have got your order mixed up...," the waiter apologized.
"I'll make sure you're fired!" David screamed. That was the last straw for John. He placed a restraining hand on his son's arm.
"Please," he told the waiter, "it's alright. Just get us another latte." The young man looked relieved and rushed away. John turned to David: "You are not lactose-intolerant David, that's just a whim. And don't you ever threaten to take away a man's livelihood."
Older business man | Source: Unsplash
"But dad..." David gasped in astonishment. In his entire life, his loving indulgent father had never spoken to him in such a cold tone.
"Who do you think you are to treat people like this? You need a lesson in what real life is, my son, and I'm going to give it to you. Tomorrow you start working here."
David's mouth hung open and he started to protest but his father wasn't finished. "You will work here for three months, and if you get fired there will be no car, do you understand? You need to learn humility and the value of hard work, David, and I'm going to teach you."
The next day David started working at the cafe, and to his surprise, he discovered that the job wasn't as easy as he'd imagined. Another surprise was that the young waiter he'd humiliated, Fred, was the one who taught him the ropes and helped him settle in.
Waiter taking a woman's order | Source: Unsplash
He and Fred became good friends over the course of the next few months, and after a while, David discovered that he rather enjoyed being busy. Five days before his three months ended, David knocked at his dad's study door.
"Come in, David," John said with a smile. "How are you son?"
"Hey, dad!" David smiled back, "Can I talk to you please?"
John nodded and David sat down. "Well, remember that young guy at the café? Fred? Well...he's got this problem. He's going deaf, and he needs an operation within the next six months.
"The problem is, he and his family only have half of the money for the op, that's why he's working instead of going to college. Anyway...Did you mean it when you said you'd buy me the Porsche?"
Young man in a green jacket | Source: Unsplash
"Yes I did," John replied.
"Well... Would you mind if I gave Fred the $50,000 instead? Then he can have the operation, and I can buy myself a second hand with what I've earned at the café."
John got to his feet and put his arms around his son. There were tears in his eyes. "Yes, son, you can have the money for Fred's operation. I've never been prouder of you! You've become a good man!"
What can we learn from this story?
1. We all deserve to be treated with respect. Whoever we are, and whatever we do, we are all entitled to our dignity.
2.Wealth isn't everything.
David had wealth, but he was selfish and lacked empathy and respect for others. Once he learned to put himself in Fred's shoes, he changed and became a better person.
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