When a banker saw his poor school friend’s old mother apply for a loan, he immediately approved it, thinking he would hide it from his boss. A few hours later, his boss called him into the office and demanded an explanation.
While waiting at the bus station, Robert thought of ways to get a raise at work. He had been a good student all his life, consistently securing the highest marks. Excellence was something he never compromised on.
Robert had always dreamt of having a successful career. Soon after graduating college, he got hired at a bank, where he met his boss, Carlos. Robert felt inspired by his boss and wished to be like him. He considered Carlos his ideal, unaware that he would soon regret it.
After reaching his workplace, Robert visited his boss’ office to greet him. He admired how Carlos spoke to others and imitated it, hoping other people would like him as they liked Carlos.
Whenever Carlos implemented a new rule, Robert would be the first to appreciate and follow it because he believed his boss could never be wrong. Carlos was someone he trusted blindly with work matters.
“I need the money for Ben’s treatment!” Doris cried. “I need your help, Robert. Please!”
Inspired by Carlos’ passion for his work, Robert spent most of his day at work, which affected his marital life. His wife wanted him to return home from work early so they could spend time together, but he did not care. He thought spending more time at work would make him excel in his career.
It was a typical day for Robert until he saw a familiar old lady wearing dirty clothes enter the bank. I think I have seen her somewhere, he thought before she approached him and introduced herself.
“Oh, you’re Ben’s mother!” he smiled. “Ben helped me pass the final exams in high school. I will always be grateful to him!”
Robert never forgot how Ben had patiently helped him overcome his anxiety and lack of confidence in the last year of high school. Thus, he couldn’t say no when Ben’s mother, Doris, asked him to help her apply for a loan.
“I know I don’t have enough money to pay back, nor do I have a high-paying job,” she said. “But I urgently need money for an emergency, Robert. Will you approve my loan application? I’d consider it a huge favor.”
“Don’t worry,” Robert smiled at the old woman. “If Ben can help me excel in my career, I can pay back by approving your loan. It’s not a big deal.”
Robert was well aware of the bank policies and knew that bankers weren’t allowed to approve loan applications of low-income individuals. However, he thought he wouldn’t get in trouble because he planned to manipulating the numbers on the loan application.
“Learn how to say ‘no’ and put your emotions aside if you want to succeed,” Carlos had told his team during a meeting. Those words echoed in Robert’s mind as he considered approving Doris’ loan application.
“I need the money for Ben’s treatment!” Doris cried. “I need your help, Robert. Please!”
Robert found out that Ben had fallen seriously ill, and the expensive treatment was the only way to save his life. immediately, Robert stopped thinking about the bank rules and signed the loan application. “The bank will transfer the money to your account before 5 p.m. today,” he smiled at his friend’s mother.
“Thank you so much, Robert!” the old woman said with tears in her eyes. “God bless you.”
A few hours after approving the loan application, Robert was going through some documents on his workstation when the sound of footsteps approaching his desk interrupted his thoughts. He raised his head and saw an angry Carlos standing before him.
“To my office, now!” Carlos shouted as his cheeks turned red with anger, and his eyes widened. After seeing the rage in his eyes, Robert quietly stood up and followed Carlos to his office.
“What do you think you are doing?” Carlos yelled and threw Doris’ loan application on his desk. “You thought I wouldn’t know? Are you out of your mind, Robert?”
“She is my school friend’s mother, and it was an emergency,” Robert replied hesitantly. “She will pay―”
“Is this what you learned during your training period? Do you work in a bank or a nonprofit organization?” Carlos screeched.
“I know I went against the rules,” Robert said as he lowered his gaze. “But I am sure she will repay the loan on time.”
“Do you know what happens if she doesn’t?” Carlos looked at Robert with his hands on the table.
“I will fire you!”
Shocked, Robert looked at his boss and shook his head. He wanted to protest, but he couldn’t speak. Getting fired was one of Robert’s biggest fears, and watching his boss talk about it sent a shiver down his spine.
“Now get out!” Carlos shouted while pointing towards the door.
Robert left his boss’ office without saying a word and returned to his seat. Carlos’ words echoed in his mind while he tried to concentrate on his work. He had no idea how he would repay the loan if Ben’s mother didn’t. “I should visit Ben after his surgery,” he thought.
The following evening, Robert visited Ben in the hospital after coordinating with Doris. Before Robert could enter the hospital room, Doris took him aside and strictly instructed him not to tell Ben about the loan.
“I don’t want my poor baby to know about it. I hope you understand that,” she said.
“Yes,” Robert nodded. “Don’t worry. I won’t say anything.”
Then, Robert met Ben and was relieved after learning that his friend was feeling much better. “Get well soon, buddy!” Robert fist-bumped Ben before leaving the hospital.
On his way home, Robert wondered why Doris wanted to hide the loan from her son. “Will she not pay it back? Did she lie to me? Will Carlos fire me?” he thought.
Instead of talking to Ben or his mother, Robert concentrated on his work to divert his mind. He didn’t contact her until several weeks later, when it was almost time for her to pay the first loan installment.
Robert checked the data on his computer before leaving the bank to ensure Doris hadn’t deposited any money yet. He visited Doris’ house later that evening, but the old lady wasn’t home.
“Where’s your mother?” Robert asked Ben after inquiring about his health.
“Mom’s at work,” Ben replied. “I keep telling her to quit work, but she never listens. I don’t like watching her go to work at this age.”
“Oh, I see,” Robert nodded while he thought about the old lady.
A few minutes later, Robert left Doris’ house and drove to her workplace. However, he couldn’t find her there. Her manager told him she had left hours ago.
That’s strange! Robert thought as he slid his phone out of his pocket to call Doris.
“Where are you?” Robert asked the old lady on the phone before learning she was working elsewhere. Once she gave him the address, he drove there and was shocked to see her working at a construction site. Her clothes were dirty, having cement stains all over them, and a layer of dust covered her face.
“What are you doing here, Doris?” Robert asked her. His tone reeked of sheer concern for the old woman.
“Please don’t tell Ben about it!” Doris pleaded. “I am working two jobs to repay the loan. I assure you I will pay the first installment on time.”
Things took a different turn when Carlos came face-to-face with Doris.
Robert felt heartbroken watching his friend’s mother work tirelessly at a construction site. He felt terrible thinking about how she put her health aside and only thought of her son.
A week later, Robert was sitting at his desk in the bank when he saw Doris enter. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have enough money to pay the first installment. It’s almost half the amount,” she said in a shaky voice. “I promise I will pay the remaining money next time.”
Watching Doris apologize made Robert feel terrible, so he told her not to worry about the remaining amount. “I’ll pay the rest for your first installment,” Robert said. “Please don’t worry about it.”
Later that evening, Robert deposited the money from his bank account to pay for Doris’ first installment, unaware his boss would make a fuss about it. At that point, Robert was only concerned about saving his job, so he transferred the money without worrying about anything else.
The next day, Robert was working on his desk when something unexpected happened. Carlos approached him and said he knew the old lady didn’t pay the first installment.
“I know you deposited the money on her behalf, Robert,” Carlos said calmly. “But this is not how things work. You need to leave your personal life outside your workplace.”
“She paid half the amount,” Robert said. “She promised she would pay me back soon.”
“That’s not the point, Robert,” Carlos said. “I’m taking legal action against her for breach of contract, and you’re coming with me.”
Carlos wanted to teach Robert a lesson. He knew Robert would replace him one day, so he needed to set boundaries. Carlos couldn’t allow Robert to make emotional decisions. He wanted to train Robert to become the best.
Carlos and Robert left the bank a few minutes later to visit Doris. They had kept a legal document that stated what action the bank would take against her as she failed to repay her loan installment. However, things took a different turn when Carlos came face-to-face with Doris.
“Oh, my God!” Carlos gasped upon looking at the poor woman.
Meanwhile, Robert stared at his boss in shock. He couldn’t understand why Carlos reacted so strangely.
“What are you doing here?” Doris looked at Carlos with raised eyebrows. “You said you never wanted to see my face or meet our son! Why are you here?”
“He’s my boss,” Robert interrupted.
“Tell your boss to leave my house right now!” Doris yelled. “Just as he left us fifteen years ago.”
It turned out that Carlos was Ben’s father. When Ben was six, Carlos left him and Doris because he couldn’t manage his responsibilities due to his work. Instead of giving time to his family, Carlos left the house in the middle of the night and never returned. He didn’t even call Doris once to check how she and Ben were doing.
After realizing Doris had taken a loan for Ben’s treatment, Carlos couldn’t muster the courage to show her the legal documents. Instead of telling her why he was visiting, Carlos turned around and left the house. At that point, Robert realized Carlos was not his idol.
don’t want to turn into a terrible man who left his family for his career, Robert thought. I don’t want to build my career at the expense of my family’s happiness.
Later that night, Robert apologized to his wife for prioritizing his work. Learning about Carlos’ past made him realize the importance of family. From being his ideal, Carlos became the person Robert did not want to follow.
The next day, Robert met Carlos and told him about his plans. “I will repay Doris’ loan, and it’s okay if you fire me for that,” Robert said. “I have already started looking for other jobs.”
“Sit down, Robert,” Carlos said. “I want to talk to you.”
Once Robert sat on the chair across the table, Carlos apologized and said he wouldn’t fire him. “Not all my rules work, Robert,” he smiled.
“You don’t have to worry about the loan. I will take care of it,” Carlos continued. “And I want you to continue working here. I want you to make the rules here.”
Since Robert had already decided to quit his job, he took some time before agreeing to stay. He told Carlos he wouldn’t stay past his working hours and wouldn’t answer calls or reply to emails at home.
As a result of his renewed working conditions, Robert spent time with his wife every day after work, and their bond strengthened with each passing day. Soon, he told her he was ready to have children, and the couple prepared to start a family together.
What can we learn from this story?
Always set your priorities right. Robert felt his career was more important than his wife, so he spent most of his day at work. However, he realized he needed to reevaluate his priorities once he learned about Carlos’ past.
Never follow someone blindly. Robert considered Carlos his ideal, assuming everything Carlos did was right. Robert had no idea that only some things his boss did were right. Carlos did many things that didn’t align with Robert’s values. Hence, he stopped considering his boss as his role model.
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