The Good Deed
Tom sat in the corner of the furniture store with a despondent look on his face as he stared at his lackluster sales figures.
It’s the final week of the month and I haven’t earned a single dollar in commissions. he thought.
“Staring at that empty sales report isn’t going to feed your family, Tom,” Mr. Anderson, the devilish director of sales said with a smirk as he walked by Tom’s desk. “Bring me some sales — chop chop!”
Tom let out a heavy sigh as he walked toward the store entrance and huddled around the other sales representatives.
“I hope I can make a big sale today,” Tom whispered to his colleague, Alan. “Wish me luck.”
An elderly couple walked through the front door, and contrary to their usual behavior, none of the sales representatives were excited to see the old couple, knowing well that they would take up a lot of time and buy something that would earn them a very meager commission.
Alan rolled his eyes. “Doesn’t seem like luck is in your favor today, Tom,” he said as he began to walk back to his desk after seeing the old couple. “Do you want to grab a cup of coffee?”
Tom looked at the old couple wandering around the store, examining all the bed frames and headboards. “I’m going to attend to that elderly couple, Alan,” he replied.
“Why waste time on them?” Alan snickered.
“Why not?” Tom mumbled as he straightened his shirt and confidently walked toward the old couple.
“Is there anything I can help you with today?” Tom asked with a smile.
“Oh, I’m glad you offered to help. For a second I thought this store didn’t have any sales personnel,” the old lady said. “We’re Mr. and Mrs. Smith and we’d be grateful if you could help us find the right furniture.”
“I’ll be more than happy to help,” Tom replied as he walked them around the store, providing all the assistance one could ask.
“You’ve been very helpful,” Mr. Smith thanked Tom as they waited in line before checking out. “Although, I needed to ask you for another favor. Do you mind helping us set up this new bed and fit our TV to this new wall mount?”
Tom quickly glanced at his wristwatch and noticed it was nearly the end of his shift. He hadn’t made a lot of money from the elderly couple’s sale, but seeing the helpless look on their faces, he decided to help them anyway.
“I’ll be more than happy to help,” Tom replied with a broad smile.
Tom arrived at the Smith residence — the biggest and the most beautiful house in a wealthy neighborhood. As he walked through the front door, he was amazed by the crystal chandelier hanging off the high ceiling. The lights bounced off the shiny marble floor, illuminating the massive living room as if it were Christmas. Along the curving staircase, Tom noticed several pictures of Mr. and Mrs. Smith with several public figures, including politicians and movie stars.
For the next three hours, Tom worked tirelessly to assemble all the furniture.
“It’s a blessing that you offered to help us at this hour,” Mr. Smith said as he helped Tom mount the TV to the wall. “I’ve always been frustrated by the difficulty of furniture assembly. I’m a retired lawyer now, but I’ve been working on a business idea to ease the furniture-buying-and-assembling experience.”
“I can understand your frustrations, Sir,” Tom said as he slapped the dust off his hands and walked toward the door.
“Where are you going?” Mrs. Smith asked.
“I’ll be heading home now, Mrs. Smith,” Tom replied as he wondered how he was going to sort out his family’s dinner that night. “Was there anything else you needed help with?”
“You’ve helped us more than we could have imagined,” Mrs. Smith said with a smile. “I’ve cooked dinner and I’d love for you to join us tonight.”
There was a hot plate of roast chicken with baby potatoes, vegetables, gravy, as well as a slice of freshly-baked lemon drizzle cake. For Tom, this was better than anything money could buy, as he tucked away into the delicious meal.
Tom thanked the couple for their hospitality and as he walked toward his car, he heard Mrs. Smith’s voice behind him.
“Tom,” she shouted as she raced toward him with a large bag. “Here’s some food for your family. Hope they enjoy my lemon drizzle cake.”
“This is very kind of you, Mrs. Smith,” Tom said with a smile as he hopped into his car. “Thank you very much.”
Mrs. Smith waved him goodbye as Tom drove out of the neighborhood. At the stop sign, Tom noticed an envelope stapled to the bag of food. Curious, Tom tore the envelope and tears rolled down his eyes as he held a hundred-dollar bill between his fingers with a heartwarming note attached to it.
Good deeds never go unnoticed.
Fortunately for Tom, his good fortune did not end that day. Over the next week, several customers walked into the furniture store and asked specifically for Tom’s assistance. The Smith’s had referred all their friends and relatives who could benefit from Tom’s services.
“You’re on a roll,” Alan said looking at Tom’s rising sales figures.
“I’ve earned more commission in a single week than I would have in three weeks combined,” Tom said to Alan excitedly.
“What did you do differently?” Alan asked.
Tom shrugged. “I guess I got lucky,” he replied with a wink.
After that week, Tom changed his focus from trying to get one big sale to serving all his customers that nobody wanted to help.
A month later, Tom couldn’t believe his eyes when he received a letter from Mr. Smith, inviting him to visit his new furniture store. Excited, Tom arrived at the new store and entered Mr. Smith’s office.
“So happy to see you again, Tom,” Mr. Smith said, welcoming him with open arms.
“I didn’t think you’d remember me,” Tom said. “Congratulations on this new beginning.”
“How could I ever forget a charismatic man like you, Tom?” Mr. Smith said with an endearing smile. “Besides, I invited you because I had some other news to share with you.”
Tom looked at him, confused.
“I would like you to lead the sales division of my company, Tom,” Mr. Smith said. “In the next six months, we’re planning to open ten more stores in the state and I’d like you to help me grow this company.”
Tom gasped. “Me?” he asked. “Are you sure?”
“Absolutely,” Mr. Smith replied. “You’re a great salesman who is persistent and you aren’t afraid of trying. But, more importantly, you’re a good human being.”
“I can’t believe how quickly my life has changed ever since you stepped into the store a month ago,” Tom said. “I’ve been earning great commissions and now you’ve offered me this amazing opportunity. Thank you very much, Mr. Smith, but all I did the other day was do my job.”
“You’re very modest, Tom, and that’s what I love about you,” Mr. Smith said. “You went out of your way to help us without any expectations, and that’s what it means to be human. I wish to build a company that cares for its customers, and you’re just the right man for it.”
Tom accepted the offer to take charge of the sales division and with his compassionate and customer-centric sales approach, he transformed Smith’s Furniture into the best furniture store in the state.
Years later, Mr. & Mrs. Smith invited Tom and his family for their lavish Thanksgiving Dinner, which was attended by some of their closest friends and allies.
“Attention everyone,” Mr. Smith said, clinking his glass of champagne. “I have a very important announcement to make tonight.”
Tom looked at him with eager enthusiasm.
“Tom, my wife and I are very thankful to have you in our life, and you’re like a son to us,” Mr. Smith began. “Tonight, I would like to announce you as my successor.”
Tom couldn’t believe his ears when he heard these words, and how a single day had changed the course of his entire life. As a token of appreciation, Tom changed his last name to Smith, and worked tirelessly to bring Smith’s Furniture into every household in the country, laying the foundation for a legacy built on good deeds and compassion.
MORAL OF THE STORY:
Never overlook anyone, as successful people always look for opportunities to help others.
Your big sales can also come in places you had never thought of looking in. The other sales representatives placed their perception and expectations on the elderly couple, and this in turn only limited them and their opportunities.
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER:
- What do you think is more important to run a successful family-owned business ‒‒ a compassionate and customer-centric team or a team relying purely on metrics?
- How do you evaluate your employees?
- What qualities do you seek in the people responsible for making critical decisions for your family business?
This parable and short story is a draft from the new book “The Family Business Messenger”, being published in early 2022.
For more information on the final book release and book launch, please email email@example.com.
Copyright 2021, All Rights Reserved, Reg Athwal, RTS Books
Please get written permission to re-post, re-distribute, use in part or full or to reference this story.