Mr. Garrido decided to teach his teenage son a rather harsh lesson when he saw him humiliate a poor boy whose grandmother was a janitor. He hoped it wasn’t too late.
Mr. Garrido owned one of the oldest shoe stores on the block and knew very well how to serve a customer. The business had allowed her to buy a house, invest in the market, and support his family.
In 30 years, the store had never been open late, the place was always clean and immaculate, and each person who entered was greeted with great kindness and the best of smiles.
Perhaps that is why Mr. Garrido did not feel threatened by the competition that opened its doors a few meters from the store. But his daughter, Pedro, saw it as a wake-up call.
“Dad, look at that store! They have the best lighting, they offer only the best shoe brands, and their staff is young and in a smart uniform…” Pedro was trying to alert his father for the millionth time.
“And look… the customers there aren’t people who just look. They actually have the money to spend!” But Pedro was frustrated when he saw his father shake his head.
“Look at that boy at the entrance. He looks like a bum and has not been ashamed to come into our store. He knows that he has no chance to enter the other store, ”Pedro thought, slowly approaching the boy.
A business is only as strong as the people who run it
“Hey you! Who told you that you could touch the shoes?” she yelled, scaring the poor boy.
“I’m sorry. I don’t…”, the boy stammered.
“Are you trying to steal? I think I should call the police…” Pedro pretended to dial his phone. He was beginning to enjoy the frightened look on the boy’s face.
“I did not come here to steal. I came here to buy shoes. Mine are very worn. And she looks, my grandmother works as a janitor, and she gave me enough money to buy some ”.
The boy tried to smile as he opened his palm to reveal some crumpled dollar bills. But Pedro had no interest in looking at them.
“Concierge? Your grandmother works as a janitor, and you think you can afford the shoes we sell here?” Pedro asked dismissively.
“I think so sir, look how much he gave me.” The boy’s voice was cracking with emotion as he tried to explain.
“Who wants your money? But since you are here, ”said Pedro, noting that he had the attention of the staff. “Use what you learned from your grandmother and shine my shoes.” Then he smirked at his witty comment.
The boy noticed that the customers in the store were staring at him and began to cry.
“Did you not hear me? Clean my boots!!” Pedro yelled.
“IT’S ENOUGH!” a voice roared, startling everyone present.
Pedro had completely forgotten that his father was in the store.
“I feel so ashamed listening to you! You will not speak like that to customers or to anyone else!” Mr. Garrido said with a firm and authoritative voice.
“I didn’t do anything wrong, so if you expect me to apologize to this poor guy, I’ll tell you right now that I won’t,” Pedro told him haughtily. But the teenager had forgotten that his father had very strict rules and when he got upset he didn’t back down.
“No, I won’t ask you to apologize. You are going to learn this lesson the hard way,” the man said and turned to the store staff.
“Gentlemen, tomorrow we will have a very special young man replacing our regular concierge. My son, Pedro,” he declared, slapping his son hard on the back. “He will take responsibility for cleaning the store and merchandise three times throughout the day.”
And he added, looking the boy directly in the eyes. “There are 12,342 shoe boxes in this old, outdated store. You better not see a speck of dust on any of them when you check tomorrow!”
Peter was shocked. He knew there was no room for discussion. His father’s eyes were filled with indignation and determination.
Mr. Garrido turned and went out, looking for the boy who had left the store silently.
The next day, Pedro had to get up before dawn to get to the store and start cleaning. He used his anger to scrub the toilets and clean the floor, but all that energy was gone in less than an hour.
Mr. Garrido made sure that his son did not slack off for a moment. By the time Pedro finished dusting every shoebox on every shelf, it was time to clean the restrooms again.
For the first time, he understood what was behind keeping a successful shoe store spotless. She also saw that just as he worked tirelessly, so did the staff and assistants.
He listened to them speak of his father with great respect and admiration. She listened to them make customers feel comfortable and cared for with their small talk and salesmanship.
After the blinds were closed at the end of the day, Pedro’s mind was opened. He approached his father, exhausted and crying.
“I’m sorry Dad. I realize that I was immature and very rude. We have something our competitors will never have: the most attentive staff. And I am terribly ashamed of the things I said to that poor boy yesterday…
Mr. Garrido realized that his son was speaking from the heart. But he didn’t answer her because there was someone else he needed to apologize to first
“Come in, little one!” Mr. Garrido said aloud. Pedro watched as the boy he had humiliated the day before entered with an old woman.
“Hello!” Peter greeted. Then he went to the boy and offered his hand. “I am very sorry for the things I said yesterday. It was not good at all! And ma’am, you must be his grandmother, ”Pedro said, wiping away his tears and turning to the older woman.
“I just spent a whole day trying to do what he does for a living. And now I know all the effort and will behind it.
The old woman remained distant as he took her hands and apologized. But the boy’s face broke into a cute smile.
“Now, child, sit down. I have something for you,” said the teen. He whispered something to his father, and when Mr. Garrido nodded, he ran to the back of the store and pulled out a carefully wrapped box.
“Open it!” Pedro asked the boy, with a mischievous expression in his eyes.
The boy looked at his grandmother and carefully opened the box. What he felt upon viewing the content was pure happiness. It was exactly the pair of shoes from his dreams!
What can we learn from history?
All honest work is worthy of respect: Pedro had to spend a whole day working as a janitor to learn a necessary lesson: all work was worthy of admiration.
A business is only as strong as the people who run it: The teenager feared that his father’s store would succumb to the competition. He later discovered that they offered something priceless: the best customer service.
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