Sam was unemployed and was desperate to support his family. His wife did nothing but watch TV all day, while his three teenage kids had dropped out of high school to hang around with the local troublemakers. His option limited, he applied for a cleaner’s job at a large company and easily passed the aptitude test.
The human resources manager told him: “You will be hired at a minimum wage of $5.05 an hour. Let me know your e-mail address so that we can get you in the loop. Our system will automatically e-mail you all the forms, and advise you when to start and where to report on your first day.” But Sam pointed out that he was too poor to afford a computer, and that therefore he didn’t have an e-mail address. The manager replied icily: “Surely you must realise that to a company like ours, not having an e-mail address means that you virtually cease to exist. Without e-mail you can hardly expect to be employed by a hi-tech firm. Good day.”
Stunned and dismayed, Sam left. Not knowing which way to turn, and with just $10 left in his pocket, he walked past a market wholesaler and saw a trader selling 25Ib crates of beautiful red tomatoes. So Sam bought a crate, carried it to a busy street corner and began selling the tomatoes. In less than two hours he sold all the tomatoes and made a 100 per cent profit. Repeating the process several more times that day, he finished up with nearly $100 and arrived home that night with several bags of groceries for his hungry family.
Not surprisingly, Sam decided to repeat the tomato business the next day, and by working long hours he quickly multiplied his profits. By the second week he had invested in a cart and two weeks later he bought a broken-down pickup truck. At the end of the year Sam owned three trucks. His two sons had left their neighborhood gangs to help him with the tomato business, his wife was buying the tomatoes, and his daughter was taking a night course in accountancy at the local college so that she could keep his books.
After five years, Sam owned a fleet of trucks and warehouse, which his wife supervised, plus two tomato farms managed by the boys. The tomato company’s payroll gave work to hundred of homeless and jobless people. His daughter reported that the business grossed a million dollars.
Planning for the future, Sam decided to buy some life insurance and, with the help of an insurance adviser, he picked a plan that suited his newfound wealth. Then the adviser asked him for his e-mail address in order to send the final documents electronically. When Sam replied that he didn’t have time to mess with a computer and had no e-mail address, the insurance advisor was stunned. “What? No computer? No Internet? No e-mail? Just think where you would be today if you’d had all of that five years ago!”
“Ha!” snorted Sam. “If I’d had e-mail five years ago, I would be sweeping floors at a multinational computer company and making $5.05 an hour.”
Who knows why bad things happen. We know that things happen for a reason, but do not know what that reason is. Bad things happen…divorce, health issues, financial troubles…all sorts of difficult or painful things plague us, Stories such as this do help us see that even if something is not “good” per se at that moment, it might actually have good results at the end. They provide inspiration. This is not to say that good things would necessarily come only through struggle. No! But that even difficulties might have a good result at the end, once a bit of time has passed. It’s so important to keep an open mind for the future. Things can get better, and they will. Meanwhile as you are working towards your goals, it is important to enjoy what you do have… the setting sun, time with family, a funny TV show, a cup of tea, animals…