I was talking to a friend of mine the other night as we spent a little time going out for some cocktails as we usually do right before the holidays.
We were talking about the subject of giving. He was telling me how he used to give a present to some unfortunate person he knew. The person was genuine and he felt bad for this person because they got along well and the person seemed honest and helpful as much as they could be towards him. Kind of like paying it forward. Well a light went off in my head and I started to tell him a story of a similar experience and I wanted to share it with others.
This was about 20 yrs ago in NY...seems like a lifetime but I still remember it. I was about 25 at the time and I wasn't really looking for a career in Real Estate. I was still in the food and restaurant industry. I had taken a job in a coffee shop and was working behind the counter as a cook/hash slinger. It was a rough job...always running and listening to people screaming for their food. While I was worried about getting everyones burger cooked to perfection...I stood about 5 feet away from our dishwasher. Not a machine but this was our dishwasher and his job was to take all the dirty dishes and wash them off and put them through some contraption that supposedly ran at 180 degrees and sanitized those dishes with a shine so bright that you could see yourself.
His name was Julio. A middle age man and he was a nice guy who was very quite and basically kept to himself. He rarely said much while he was working and he worked like a dog and never heard one person yell at him to move his butt. Julio knew how to work and did the job the way he was supposed to with no questions asked. He never complained about anything. Sometimes it was so busy he would finish a big pile and then sneak in the back for a quick break...but then I would watch the waitresses just dump another pile of new dishes on the sink for him to clean. But he would just be like the Eveready bunny and just keep on going.
Everyday that I was running around like a chicken without a head....serving people listening to them tell me to give them a pickle or telling me their burger needed more fire....Julio would just stand there and smile at me while watching me get abused and I would just stand there and take it. Julio didn't have to say anything...I knew what he was thinking. But he just kept working and then when they day was over he would just say"bye amigo...see you in the morning".. and leave just to come back do it all over again the next day.
I became friendly with him and but I never knew where he lived or what he did beyond work. He was kind and we laughed and talked about boxing a lot. I didn't even know his last name and we worked together for quite some time. I then heard some talk that he was living in his car. I found this out when someone asked him his address and he said something like HJ9SO7 which was apparently his license plate number.
But then I found out later he was renting a room above one of the store fronts nearby. It was during the holidays that I was talking with a friend of mine who worked there as well... about the two of us chipping in and buying Julio a TV for the holidays. We felt like we needed to do this. We weren't making a lot of money but between the two of us we purchased one for about $50 which at that time was a lot of money. We then hid it at the coffee shop and when he came in the next day we presented it to him after work.
I've got to tell you that back then I probably didn't appreciate it as much as I do now. You should have seen the surprise and the happiness in his eyes when we told him it was his to keep.
Years have gone by and I never saw Julio again after I left the business and I never found out where Julio went after they sold the coffee shop but I know if he is still around....he remembers the gift we gave him that year.
Neal Bloom/Remax Hometown
2500 Weston Road ,Suite 103
Weston FL 33331
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