A boss catches a waitress in his restaurant stealing pizza slices and yells at her. He feels shocked to see her break rules but is unaware that he will soon regret firing her.
At 43, John owned a pizzeria that he had recently bought from the previous owner. The café was known for its unique flavors and hospitality, and John thought he would earn millions because of its pristine reputation.
Besides acquiring the pizzeria’s good name, John also got trained staff and a well-furnished restaurant space. He didn’t have to build his business from scratch, but he paid a considerable price while buying a running restaurant.
Among the staff was 24-year-old waitress, Samantha, a kind young woman. She had worked in the pizzeria for a year and knew everything that happened behind the scenes to keep the business thriving.
However, John always refused to listen when she shared her learnings. One day, he was sitting in his car eating pizza while his staff prepared to close the place for the day. He was watching a video on his phone and enjoying his food when two teenage boys knocked on his window.
“Sir! We’re hungry,” one of them cried. “Can we please have some leftover pizza?”
Feeling angry, John yelled at the children, telling them to leave immediately. Meanwhile, Samantha saw her new boss shout at the kids, so she came out of the restaurant and told John about the restaurant’s tradition.
“My ex-boss always told us to give food to the needy because he thought such kind deeds helped grow his business,” she smiled. “Giving leftovers to the poor was a tradition.”
“No more rubbish traditions!” John said. “I decide how to run this place. Is that clear?”
John stepped out of his car while pushing the two teens away, throwing the leftovers in the trash can. “This is where the leftovers should go!” he said sternly.
Samantha shook her head as she went inside the restaurant. She was disappointed, but this wasn’t the first time her new boss had rejected her suggestion. She told him about another tradition a few days ago, but John didn’t like it.
She could see her dreams shatter before her eyes.
“We always write an inspirational note for our customers and hand it to them with their order,” she told him. “We just try to brighten up their day through this simple gesture! Our customers love it!”
“Oh, please!” John rolled his eyes. “I’m here to sell food, not inspiration. I won’t continue such useless traditions!”
John made a couple of new rules after buying the restaurant. Besides forbidding the staff from giving leftovers to the poor, he also limited the number of slices they could take home. “No one can take more than one slice home. Understand?” he told them on the first day.
While Samantha felt sad that John was ending so many wonderful practices, she didn’t let it affect her work. She continued to be the chirpy, friendly waitress, always talking kindly to her colleagues. Everyone at the restaurant loved Samantha because of her bubbly personality.
She kept telling everyone she was saving money for a trip across the country. The young girl dreamt of traveling one day, unaware that her life would soon change forever.
Since John was strict about his rules, he often visited the kitchen to ensure no one stole pizzas. One day, he entered the kitchen and was shocked to see that a waitress was breaking the rules. He caught Samantha stuffing four slices of pizza inside her bag.
“MY OFFICE! RIGHT NOW!” he yelled at her, and stomped back to his office.
“I know you have been stealing leftovers, Samantha!” he yelled. “You broke the most important rule! You stole four slices of pizza thinking no one’s watching you!”
“But I wasn’t taking them home for myself. I wanted to give them to the hungry boys,” she explained. “The leftovers would go in the trash anyway. What’s the point of not feeding the poor? There’s no harm in it!”
“Don’t teach me what to do, Samantha!” John grumbled. “I didn’t you call inside my office to listen to your advice. I can’t deal with your pointless arguments. Why don’t you work for a human rights organization instead? I’m firing you anyway!”
“What?” Samantha gasped. She could see her dreams shatter before her eyes.
“I know how much you need this job, and that’s exactly why I’m firing you!” John said.
Samantha begged her boss not to fire her, but John didn’t listen. Soon, he fired the other staff and hired new workers instead, but his move affected his restaurant’s reputation. He had no idea that the team he fired was his biggest asset.
Once his staff left, the atmosphere of his pizzeria became depressing. The regular customers felt something was wrong but never complained since the food quality was still good.
Sometimes, John missed his previous employees because he never had to train them. On the other hand, his new employees needed a lot of training, but he couldn’t complain. After all, he wanted Samantha and her coworkers to leave.
John struggled to grow his business, but his ego never allowed him to apologize to his old employees and hire them again. He tried his best to make things work, but the footfall in his pizzeria dropped significantly.
A few months later, he was driving home from his pizzeria when he saw a long queue of people in front of a new food truck selling pizza. He was sure he hadn’t seen this new joint here before, so he parked his car and walked towards it to see what the hype was about.
Approaching the food truck, he saw Samantha and the two poor teenagers inside it.
“Oh, my God!” John gasped.
John wanted to jump the queue to talk to his ex-employee, but the people standing in line didn’t allow him to meet her.
“Hey! Don’t break the queue!” an old woman yelled at John, and that made him ashamed enough to want to sit in his car and drive away.
The next day, John returned to his restaurant. He sat at one of the seats, waiting for the first customer to enter, but no one showed up until later that evening.
A couple entered the restaurant and looked at all the empty seats in the pizzeria. One of the servers quickly walked towards them, welcoming them inside, but they turned around and started walking towards the door.
“Let’s go to the food van around the corner!” the girl told her boyfriend. “I don’t like it here. It seems like no one comes here, but that food truck always has a long queue in front of it.”
John’s hopes suddenly turned into sadness when he watched the couple leave his restaurant. As much as he wanted to stop them from going, he couldn’t do anything to make them stay.
It suddenly hit him that the woman he fired from his restaurant had become a competitor. Samantha’s food truck was the talk of the town, and he couldn’t do anything to stop his potential customers from going there.
Later that night, John returned home but couldn’t keep Samantha off his mind. He regretted firing her and believed he should have followed her advice to continue the restaurant’s traditions.
“I should talk to her tomorrow. I should apologize for firing her,” John thought. “After all, that young girl wasn’t wrong.”
The following morning, John left his house and drove to Samantha’s food truck instead of his pizzeria. Since it was daytime, the queue outside the van was shorter than usual. John stood in the line and waited for his turn so he could talk to Samantha.
“Oh, John!” she exclaimed upon seeing her ex-boss standing with her customers. “How are you?”
“Can we talk?” John asked, gesturing if she could spare a few minutes for him.
“Sure,” she said and came out of the van.
“I just came here to apologize, Samantha,” John lowered his gaze. “Ever since you left, the footfall in my restaurant has dropped significantly. It seems like you were the reason why people visited the pizzeria.”
“Oh, that’s not true!” Samantha chuckled.
“Well, it seems like that’s the truth,” John replied. “When did you start your business? I really like the idea.”
“Well, I decided not to work for anyone after you fired me,” Samantha said. “Since I had learned how to make pizzas, I thought setting up a food truck would work.”
“Well…” Samantha didn’t know what to say.
“What about the finances?” John was curious. “I am sure you couldn’t have saved so much money to buy a truck and all these supplies.”
“I took a loan with my uncle’s help,” Samantha replied. “He’s such a sweetheart. He helped me a lot during the entire process. And I knew these boys would never say no to me. So I hired them to work with me. It’s been a pleasant experience so far.”
John raised his eyebrows and smiled while looking over her shoulder at the two teenage boys serving pizzas to everyone.
“So, what’s your secret?” he smiled. “What’s the secret behind your flourishing small business?”
“I just do what I do best―treat people how I want to be treated,” she smiled and handed him a free pizza and a note accompanying it.
“Treat and love others like yourself,” the note read.
John suddenly felt a wave of regret in his body. He felt his cheeks heat up and turn red. He took a bite of the pizza, but it wouldn’t go down his throat. “What have I done?” he thought.
After going home that day, John kept thinking about Samantha’s food van and the newfound confidence that made her eyes sparkle. He was impressed by her work ethic and decided to meet her again.
The following day, he drove to Samantha’s house and asked if he could drop her at her workplace. “I wanted to talk to you, Samantha,” he said.
Once Samantha sat in his car, he shared his thoughts with her. “Samantha, I want to hire you and your colleagues back. I made a mistake and want to rectify it,” he said while driving.
“Well…” Samantha didn’t know what to say.
“I’ll hire you as the manager, and I’ll pay you much better than what you earn right now,” he said excitedly. “I will hire those boys too.”
“But why would you do that?” Samantha was confused.
“I want my old and happening pizzeria back, and I believe you and your coworkers can help me achieve my goal,” he replied. “But there’s something else too.”
“What is it?” Samantha asked curiously.
“We can use your van to travel across the country and sell pizzas,” he replied. “I know you have always wanted to travel, and I think this would be the perfect way to fulfill your dream. I am sure you will love it!”
“Well, I will think about it,” Samantha said. “I’ll get back to you, John. Thanks for the ride!”
John saw Samantha leave his car and walk towards her food van. He felt relieved after sharing his idea with her and was confident she would respond positively.
The following week, John contacted his ex-employees and requested them to join his restaurant again after Samantha accepted her role as a manager. John was delighted to have everyone back and decided to continue the traditions he refused to accept earlier.
He regularly gave poor people free food, which made him experience a newfound satisfaction that he had never felt before. It made him understand why Samantha was so kind to the two boys.
A few months later, John’s pizzeria became one of the best restaurants in town. Besides the residents, people from neighboring towns also visited it and loved the pizzas.
After seeing his business grow, John looked at his life retrospectively and realized his arrogance would have ultimately led him to loneliness. He felt grateful that fate gave him another chance and that he chose to be generous instead of rude. He believed his generosity would ultimately grant him a happy life.
What can we learn from this story?
Treat others like you want to be treated. Samantha was always kind to the two poor boys because she empathized with them. Soon, John realized he should be kind because his arrogance led him nowhere.
It’s okay to listen to your juniors. Since John was arrogant, he never wanted to listen to Samantha’s advice. He thought she wasn’t wise because she worked under him, but he soon realized she was an asset to his restaurant.
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