A rich man started playing with and teaching his housemaid’s son, and the kid loved it. A few years later, they moved away, but the boy returned as an adult and never imagined what the rich man would offer him one day.
“Ok, so don’t disturb Mr. Richards while I’m working, Walter,” Vanna told her son when she started bringing him to work. She was a housemaid for one of the wealthiest men in town and hated leaving Walter alone in their house, although he was almost a teenager.
So, she decided to start bringing him to work after asking her boss about it. Mr. Richards didn’t mind, as he was a father too, but he rarely saw his daughters, who lived in another state with their mother.
However, Vanna never imagined that her son and her employer would form a bond. On his first day, Walter was outside enjoying the snow in the big yard when the rich man joined him and started a conversation. They discovered their mutual fondness for various school subjects, but then they began playing in the snow, as Mr. Richards got a sled out.
“NO!” Victor continued, and the discussion went on like that for a long time.
They built a snowman, had a snowball fight, and laughed the entire day until they were both too cold. Once they got inside and Vanna made them hot chocolate, they went into Mr. Richards’ office. Eventually, they started talking about books and using the computer. Mr. Richards told the kid about his life and how he had started his billion-dollar business.
Mr. Richards changed Walter’s whole perspective on life. The rich man talked about going further, stepping out of your comfort to succeed, and protecting your family as much as possible. On the other hand, Walter’s father, Victor, worked at a canning factory and was content with his job.
He had to work long hours and mostly ignored his son and wife when he got home, telling them he was tired from his long day. However, even on weekends, he went out, met his friends, and didn’t care about spending time with his family.
“As long as the man provides for the household, he can do whatever else he pleases,” Victor would say, and Walter always thought that was the role of men in a family… until he met Mr. Richards.
The rich man missed his daughters terribly and had a great relationship with his ex-wife despite their separation.
“A man has to be there for his family, even if he can’t physically be there. When I was starting my business, I worked 16-hour days sometimes, but I went home, kissed my wife, and tried to read stories to the girls if they were still up. My partners and I also gave each other free days for family outings. It was important to all of us,” Mr. Richards told Walter at one point.
“But why did you get divorced?” the almost-teenager asked the rich man.
“My ex-wife had different aspirations. She got a dream job in New York, but I had to stay in Washington for my company. I couldn’t leave, so we separated amicably instead of giving up on our dreams. Sometimes, that’s a sacrifice you make for your loved ones. I’ll always love my ex-wife. She’s the mother of my kids. But we’re just friends now,” Mr. Richards explained as simply as he could, and Walter nodded.
However, he had no idea his own family would face such a decision years later.
Four years after Walter met Mr. Richards, his mother finished her night college class, graduated, and got a job in New Jersey that could change her entire life. But Victor hated the idea of moving.
“We can’t leave. What about my job?” Walter heard him arguing with his mother one night after she revealed the news.
“Victor, this is my dream. I won’t have to be a cleaner anymore! I get to pursue my career and climb the corporate ladder, and we could build a better future for Walter. Isn’t that exciting?” Vanna replied. Walter could not see their expressions, but he knew his father was not happy.
“NO! It’s not exciting. I’m the man of this house, and I say we’re not moving anywhere! I want to keep my job. It’s enough for all of us, and this house is paid for. We’re comfortable here. It’s perfect!” Victor stated, his tone final and strict.
“Excuse me? You don’t get to tell me what’s perfect and what isn’t. We’re going to discuss it because this opportunity is too great to pass up,” Vanna countered, and Walter knew she was crossing her arms.
“NO!” Victor continued, and the discussion continued like that for a long time.
The next day, Vanna asked Victor for a divorce, and Walter went with her. Mr. Richards helped them as best he could so they could move to New Jersey quickly during the separation. He also wrote the kid letters and emails constantly, encouraging him to study, get scholarships, apply for internships, and to colleges, etc.
In contrast, Walter never heard much from his father, who was too proud to reach out and realize his mistakes. The man also hated that his son had chosen to move away with his mother. Victor was petty and acted completely different from what Walter had learned from Mr. Richards. That’s when he promised himself never to become like Victor.
Many years later, Walter moved back to Washington, as he had applied for a management position at Mr. Richards’ company and got the job.
The rich man, much older now, recognized him immediately and welcomed him into the fold like an old friend. Walter worked as hard as he could. He had many ideas to improve and expand the business, and Mr. Richards always praised him.
“You’re like the son I never had,” the rich man said after one of their meetings had ended.
Walter couldn’t have felt prouder of himself. Mr. Richards was the father figure he wanted and respected. Eventually, he met one of his daughters, Mia, and fell in love quickly. They got married after a few years and started a family.
His mother eventually moved back to town, and Walter couldn’t have been happier to have the people he most adored nearby.
But when Mr. Richards got older and decided to retire, he asked Walter to become the CEO and to fill his spot on the board. The younger man couldn’t believe it.
“Are you sure? Other senior executives covet the role. What about your daughters? I know Mia doesn’t want it, but Lucia might,” Walter told him after being shocked for a few seconds.
“I already talked to Lucia about it, and she thought it was a fantastic idea for her brother-in-law to take over my part of the company,” Mr. Richards explained.
“Walter, you are family. You became my family even before you married Mia. I always knew you would achieve great things when I saw your curiosity, intellect, and drive as a pre-teen. But you thrived beyond my expectations. And the way you treat my daughter, the rest of the family, and your mother, that only solidifies my stance.”
Walter had no way to express his immense gratitude with those words. It was all the validation he had hoped for after meeting the rich man. He had become what he promised himself to be, and everyone around him loved him for it.
What can we learn from this story?
It’s essential for kids to meet different people so they can find the right role model. Walter used to believe his father’s way of thinking was normal until he met Mr. Richards and found the perfect role model.
You can’t hold the people you love back. Unlike Mr. Richards with his ex-wife, Victor tried to stop Vanna from leaving when she got a great job opportunity. Luckily, she still did her best for herself and her son.
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