A week before my 20th birthday, I requested that day off from my job at the hardware store. But when the new schedule was posted, I noticed that it wasn’t granted. I asked the boss (let’s call him Al) about it, and he told me that I was low man on the totem poll.
So, in classic Tommy Wyatt form, I decided to take that day off anyway and did so in vintage Ferris Bueller fashion. Not only did I blatantly disrespect authority that day, but I also had the cojones (is that a word?) to show up at 5:30 to pick up my paycheck.
Handing me a small manilla envelope with cash, Al’s last words to me were, “You’re fired. Get the hell out of here.” I complied.
Flash forward almost 20 years, I had just been named “Entrepreneur of the Year” for a billion dollar network marketing company and was on stage presenting a financial opportunity to a large audience.
There, fifteen-or-so rows back on the left side of the auditorium, was a face I recognized from my past. Yep. It was Al.
I knew that a confrontation was inevitable and a million thoughts went through my mind as our eyes met and we walked towards one another after the meeting broke up. I didn’t harbor any ill will. Did he?
“Tommy Wyatt,” he said, in his dull voice, face expressionless as always, extending his hand. Turns out, Al was down on his luck. He had recently joined our company and was part of my personal organization. He was requesting my assistance.
As much as I wanted to squint, give him the Clint Eastwood face twitch and some great one liner, I made a snap decision to take the high road and instead chose friendly and cordial.
Al asked a lot of me over the next few months – I even returned to that dusty old hardware store – and I worked hard for him (again). So much so, in fact, that he started getting the illusion that he was the boss again. Hence, nothing gave me more pleasure than the day I told him he was ready to fly on his own. That was when I turned and “got the hell out of there” (again).
In retrospect, I’m glad I summoned the strength (at age 20) not to burn that bridge. I can’t say it was wisdom back then, maybe just good luck. And I’m glad Al didn’t carry a grudge either. Or maybe he did, but had to humble himself.
Its a funny thing about life; the tables turn all the time.
Stay humble my friends.