A rich young woman mocks the janitor at her father’s company and he decides to teach her a lesson she will never forget.
Danielle Grobber was used to having everything her own way. She was beautiful, intelligent, talented, and very, very rich. Or at least, Danielle’s father was very rich and she’d always thought of his money as hers.
So Danielle, or Danie, as her friends called her, was more than a little spoiled, but she always managed to charm her way out of trouble with her sweet talk and her dazzling smile. Then she crossed a line, and her father taught her a life lesson she would never forget.
Danielle was about to go off on a two-week dream vacation to the Caribean and had talked her father into taking her on a shopping spree. Not that Danie was in need of anything, she just loved shopping with her dad.
Unfortunately, he had to skip their lunch to attend to some urgent issues, and so she’d wandered around a bit before walking into a famous fast food restaurant and ordering herself a burger with all the trimmings, fries, a large soda, and an apple pie.
She took her order and walked back to her dad’s building which was surrounded by a well-tended lawn dotted with shady trees, comfortable benches, and murmuring fountains. She sat and ate her food while she texted her friends on her phone.
When she finished, she wiped her lips, crumpled the napkin, and carefully applied lipstick. Then she got up and started to walk away, leaving all the packaging and left-overs on the bench.
A voice stopped her in her tracks. “Excuse me, miss!” the voice said. “Please pick up your trash and put it in the bin.”
Treat everyone with respect if you want to be respected.
Danie turned around and stared at a thin elderly man in a janitor’s uniform who was sweeping the garden path. “Excuse me?” she asked. “Are you talking to ME?”
“Yes, young lady,” the man said. “This little park is for the people who work here to enjoy, and I don’t think it’s fair to leave rubbish behind.”
“I don’t clean up!” Danie said arrogantly. “People clean up for ME. People like you, the servant class — isn’t that your job? So do it — clean it up!”
The elderly man flushed. “Young lady,” he said. “My job is to keep this building and this garden spick and span but what you did is disrespectful…”
Danie interrupted him rudely. “You work for my father, which means you work for me! If I tell you to clean up, you clean up, if I tell you to lick my shoes, you lick my shoes or I’ll get you fired!”
It was at that moment that Danie heard a voice like thunder: “DANIELLE!” She turned around to find her father standing there looking furious. “Who do you think you are?” Jack Grobber asked her. “How dare you humiliate this man, who has worked for me for over 20 years. A hard-working man, with a family!”
“Daddy?” said Danie in her best little girl voice. “Please don’t be mad at me…I’m sooo sorry!” But under her sweet smile, Jack caught a flicker of mockery. Danie thought she was going to get away with this, just like she’d gotten away with everything in the past.
“Apologize to Mr. Terence, Danielle,” Jack ordered and watched as his daughter turned to the janitor with her most charming manner — but now he knew it was all an act.
“It’s my fault,” Jack thought. “I have to put this right!” But how do you undo a lifetime of indulgence and teach a young woman respect and responsibility?
Then Jack had a brilliant idea. “Mr. Terence, you look very tired!” he said. “I think you need a vacation!”
Mr. Terence smiled and shook his head. “My wife says the same, Mr. Grobber, but I’m saving up my vacation days for the end of the year so we can spend Christmas with the grandchildren!”
“That’s quite alright, Mr. Terence,” Jack said. “I’m giving you two weeks off and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas for you and your wife!”
Mr. Terence’s gaped. “Sir? The Bahamas…But who will fill in for me?”
“Don’t worry, Mr. Terence,” Jack said smiling. “My daughter Danielle will be more than happy to fill in for you, to make up for the unpleasant way she treated you.”
“WHAT?” screamed Danie, “Are you mad, daddy? I’m going on vacation…”
“Not anymore,” Jack said. “Mr. and Mrs. Terence are going in your place, and you will do his job while he is away.”
“YOU CAN’T DO THAT TO ME!” screamed Danielle. “I’m not a janitor! Cleaning toilets? Sweeping? Picking up other people’s trash? I won’t do it!”
“Yes you will,” her father said coldly. “Or I will cut off your allowance, take away that convertible…”
“It’s MY car!” cried Danie.
“No, Danielle,” Jack said quietly. “It’s MY car. I paid for it, I pay for the insurance and the gas. It’s all mine. Everything you have, I give you, so I think it’s time you learned how hard people have to work for every dollar.”
Danie knew her father very well, and by the look in his eyes, she realized she’d crossed some boundary. He would not be sweet-talked out of this crazy notion!
“You start on Monday,” Jack told her, then he turned to Mr. Terence. “And you’d better go home and pack, Mr. Terence! Bon Voyage!”
Monday morning Danie was there in her uniform, cleaning and sweeping, and emptying trash cans. By the end of the day she was exhausted, her beautiful nails were ruined, and her soft pampered hands were red and sore.
By the time Mr. Terence came back from the Bahamas with an amazing tan, Danie was quite an expert at the job and he was happy to report to Mr. Grobber that she’d left everything spick and span — no trash in the garden!
As for Danie, she never again disrespected anyone for doing a hard day’s work because she knew exactly what that felt like!
What can we learn from this story?
Treat everyone with respect if you want to be respected. Danielle was unpleasant and arrogant and learned to respect others the hard way.
Parents sometimes have to draw lines and teach their children hard lessons. Jack was forced to teach Danie to be respectful and kind, and to value hard work.
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This account is inspired by our reader’s story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only.