Whenever I need an emotional boost Daddy tells me a story my Grandpa told him.
“He was a hard worker,” says Daddy. He owned a small iron fence making
business, and built everything in his small garage. His six sons worked every spare moment during the day and well into the wee night hours constructing fences with the highest caliber of excellence and perfection.
Grandpa was an artist in his trade and a skillful teacher. His only flaw, he was not a very good businessperson. Though he spent long hours fabricating his art, rarely was he paid adequately for his hard and tedious work. He was not a wealthy man; in fact, he barely qualified as middle class. Yet, he set high standards for himself, and the quality of work his six sons produced.
They were obligated to work for him before and after school, plus on the
weekends. When Grandpa was not making any money, neither did the boys.
“Pa,” Daddy often asked, “How much do you get paid for the work?” Every time Daddy got the same response. “It’s none of your business,” Grandpa replied with his thick Italian accent. “What do you mean,” Daddy persisted. “This is a school,” Grandpa said, “When you learn everything you need to run the business you can charge whatever you want.”
Grandpa was a stern teacher and none of the boys ever argued or second-guessed his knowledge. They all treated him with respect, joined him in his labors and were expert students at his school. They even worked without pay. Secretly though, they talked amongst themselves, hoping for a big order that would put more than a few hundred dollars in Grandpa’s pocket.
That day never seemed to arrive. They persevered, working, gaining knowledge and developing new and faster techniques to build better quality iron fences than ever before. Still, there were weeks Grandpa went without a paycheck.
Until one unforgettable day when a top executive of a local construction
company called, “We’re building 100 homes, and need 200 staircases built. They are all the same style and size.” Daddy, then only twenty-years old, but bright-eyed with enthusiasm, and had officially graduated from Grandpa’s school, was now doing the bidding for the business. He anxiously dashed over to meet the executive. “We need the best quality railings. We need two hundred, and we need them finished by next week. We’ll give you $20,000 for the job!” “It’s a done deal!” Daddy exclaimed, wondering how
the boys working in their father’s garage were ever going to produce that quantity or quality of staircases in such a short time.
The worker bees began what was about to be the biggest test so far in Grandpa’s little garage. They spent sleepless nights sawing and shaping the staircases. Grandpa looked over them with a watchful eye as he had done hundreds of times before. The boys hurried in a race with time like little elves before Christmas Day.
However, the boys had one final test before getting their biggest check ever. On deadline day in which they had to install the staircases, snow began falling and quickly turned into a blizzard. Nevertheless, the family was on a mission and refused to give in to the relentless storm. Nothing would stop them from installing the 200 staircases. They went to the construction site with all 200 staircases in tow. It was a freezing, 30 degrees outside. They bundled themselves in their warmest winter clothes, working with
unprotected and near frostbitten hands, they drilled, nailed, and set all the staircases in place perfectly.
After hours of hard work in the frigid cold, for what seemed like a never-ending project, they never gave up and finished the job. Daddy went to meet with the top executive to collect his paycheck and boss greeted him with another surprise.
“I’m so impressed by your work!” the executive gushed, “It was timely, well
done, and the finest quality!” Daddy, in his humbleness gave the man a smile, only anticipating his first big check. “We want to give you another big job,” the executive said,
“We need 200 more staircases and we want you and your brothers to have the job!”
That was the beginning of something extraordinary. After that, new work rolled in so consistently Daddy and the brothers had to hire people to work for them to keep up with all the orders. They have since turned Grandpa’s little business into a multi-million dollar company that specializes in distributing doors and hardware. The demand is so high they have since decided to concentrate on large commercial contracts.
Today, Daddy wears a business suit to work, but he still has the heart of a boy who began his career in a garage with torn shoes and jeans. Thanks to Grandpa, Daddy passed on to me the most important lesson that perseverance and love for what you do, does pay off.
If you keep trying, it is only a matter of time before your big break comes. It begins in your heart with a dream, hard work and perfecting your craft. Even a small beat up garage is not necessary to begin a dream, you just need passion and determination, and that comes from our heart.
Moral & Thoughts
- Never, never, never give in. ― Winston Churchill
- Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. ― A.A. Milne
- Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. ― Thomas A. Edison