I have a friend whom I have known and respected for over the past 30 years . He has been a highly successful entrepreneur , engaging in a number of businesses over his lifetime . His most recent work was assisting businesses with sales liquidations . Over time he has also survived some significant health challenges .
Now , over the past year he has returned to the company he helped to found over 50 years ago – but this time serving as a greeter for incoming customers . Unfortunately , over the past few months he has been dogged by short – term memory issues . Specifically , he frequently would forget the route home after work , particularly after dark . His wife now drives him to and from work .
As my readers may remember , I was connected with the retail music business for a number of years , having founded their music department back in the 1980s . And , like my friend , I now help out as a greeter part time at this business , along with processing music sales .
Yesterday , I arrived at my usual time for the late afternoon work shift to find my friend already there . He told me first that he had been summoned to come in and help due to a busy influx of customers . Then he told me he just decided to come in and help out yesterday .
What to do – am I not needed today ? Who was entitled to receive pay for hours worked ?
I am sharing this story , because of the compassion and understanding shown by the company staff .
I was instructed to stick around and work the afternoon . I eventually learned how the store owner managed the schedule situation with his long – time business partner . With a light – hearted smile his words were , “ Sure , Jim , I won ’ t charge you for coming in to work today !” ( haha )
Usually , I am never around during the time my friend is on duty . But yesterday for the first time , I actually got to watch him in action . As prospective piano buyers entered the sales floor , he took on his well – practiced sales persona honed from many years of experience , qualifying the customer until an official sales person became available .
There was no awkwardness whatsoever between us as we both did what we were comfortable doing . My friend was able to enjoy the special feeling of contributing , thanks to an understanding former business partner . There will inevitably come a time when my friend will no longer be able to make it in . But until then , there is room in this business for him .
No matter our age or station in life , the good feelings generated by being able to contribute never wear out .
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