When a bank clerk saw his poor school friend’s elderly mother applying for a loan, he immediately approved it, thinking he was hiding it from his boss. A few hours later, his boss called him into the office and demanded an explanation.
While waiting at the bus stop, Robert wondered how he could get a raise at work. He had been a good student all his life and always got the best grades. Excellence was something he never compromised on.
Robert had always dreamed of having a successful career. Shortly after graduating from college, he was hired at a bank, where he met his boss, Carlos. Robert felt inspired by his boss and wished to be like him. He considered Carlos his ideal, not suspecting that he would soon regret it.
After reaching his place of work, Robert went to his boss’s office to greet him. He admired the way Carlos spoke to others and imitated it, hoping that the others would like him the way they liked Carlos.
Whenever Carlos introduced a new rule, Robert was the first to appreciate and follow it because he believed his boss could never be wrong. Carlos was someone he trusted blindly in matters of work.
“I need the money for Ben’s treatment!” Doris yelled. “I need your help, Robert. Please!”
Inspired by Carlos’ passion for his work, Robert spent most of his day at work, which affected his married life. His wife wanted him to come home from work early so they could spend time together, but he didn’t care. He thought that if he spent more time at work, he would do better in his career.
It was a normal day for Robert until he saw an old lady he knew walking into the bank in dirty clothes. “I think I’ve seen her before,” he thought before she walked up to him and introduced herself.
“Oh, you’re Ben’s mother!” he smiled. “Ben helped me pass my final exams in high school. I will always be grateful to him!”
Robert had never forgotten how Ben patiently helped him overcome his fears and lack of confidence during his senior year of high school. That’s why he couldn’t say no when Ben’s mother, Doris, asked him to help her apply for a loan.
“I know I don’t have enough money to pay it back, and I don’t have a well-paying job either,” she said. “But I really need money for an emergency, Robert. Would you approve my loan application? I would consider it a great favor.”
“Don’t worry,” Robert smiled at the old woman. “If Ben can help me advance my career, I can reciprocate by approving your loan. It’s no big deal.”
Robert knew the bank’s policies very well and knew that bank employees were not allowed to approve loan applications from low-income individuals. However, he figured he wouldn’t get in trouble for plotting to tamper with the numbers on the loan application.
“Learn to say no and put your emotions aside if you want to be successful,” Carlos told his team at a meeting. Those words echoed in Robert’s mind as he debated whether to approve Doris’ loan application.
“I need the money for Ben’s treatment!” Doris cried. “I need your help, Robert. Please!”
Robert learned that Ben was seriously ill and expensive treatment was the only way to save his life. Robert immediately stopped thinking about the bank rules and signed the loan application. “The bank will transfer the money to your account before 5 p.m. today,” he smiled at his friend’s mother.
“Thank you, Robert!” said the old woman with tears in her eyes. “God bless you.”
A few hours after the loan application was approved, Robert was going through some documents at his work place when the sound of footsteps approaching his desk startled him from his thoughts. He looked up and saw an angry Carlos standing in front of him.
“To my office, right now!” Carlos shouted, his cheeks red with anger and his eyes widening. After seeing the anger in his eyes, Robert stood up quietly and followed Carlos to his office.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Carlos yelled, throwing Doris’ loan application on his desk. “Did you think I wouldn’t notice? Have you lost your mind, Robert?”
“She’s my school friend’s mother and it was an emergency,” Robert replied hesitantly. “She will pay for this…”
“Is that what you learned in your education? Do you work in a bank or in a non-profit organization?” Carlos screamed.
“I know I broke the rules,” Robert said, looking down. “But I am sure that she will pay back the loan on time.”
“You know what happens if she doesn’t?” Carlos looked at Robert with his hands on the table.
“I’ll fire you!”
Robert looked at his boss in shock and shook his head. He wanted to protest, but he couldn’t speak. Getting fired was one of Robert’s biggest fears and watching his boss talk about it sent chills down his spine.
“Now get out of here!” Carlos shouted and pointed to the door.
Robert left his boss’s office without saying a word and returned to his seat. Carlos’ words echoed in his head as he tried to focus on his work. He had no idea how to pay off the loan if Ben’s mother didn’t. “I should visit Ben after his operation,” he thought.
The following evening Robert visited Ben in the hospital after checking with Doris. Before Robert could enter the hospital room, Doris took him aside and strictly instructed him not to tell Ben about the loan.
“I don’t want my poor baby to know about this. I hope you understand,” she said.
“Yes,” Robert nodded. “Don’t worry. I won’t say anything.”
Then Robert met Ben and was relieved to learn that his friend was doing much better. “Get well soon, buddy!” Robert smacked Ben on the shoulder with his fist before leaving the hospital.
On the way home, Robert wondered why Doris wanted to keep the loan a secret from her son. “Won’t she pay it back? Did she lie to me? Will Carlos fire me?” he thought.
Instead of talking to Ben or his mother, Robert focused on his work to distract himself. He only contacted her a few weeks later when the first loan installment was due.
Robert checked the details on his computer before leaving the bank to make sure Doris hadn’t deposited any money yet. Later that evening he visited Doris’s house, but the old lady was not at home.
“Where’s your mother?” Robert Ben asked after asking how he was.
“Mom is at work,” Ben replied. “I keep telling her to stop working, but she never listens to me. I don’t like seeing her work at that age.”
“Oh, I see,” Robert nodded while thinking about the old lady.
A few minutes later, Robert left Doris’ house and drove to her place of work. However, he could not find her there. Her supervisor told him she left hours ago.
“That’s strange!” , thought Robert as he took his cell phone out of his pocket to call Doris.
“Where are you?” Robert asked the old lady on the phone before learning she worked elsewhere. After she gave him the address, he drove there and was shocked to see her working at a construction site. Her clothes were dirty, cement-stained, and a layer of dust covered her face.
“What are you doing here, Doris?” Robert asked her. His tone suggested he was worried about the old woman.
“Please don’t tell Ben anything about it!”, Doris pleaded. “I have two jobs to pay off the loan. I assure you that I will pay the first installment on time.”
Things took a different turn when Carlos met up with Doris.
Robert was heartbroken to see his friend’s mother working tirelessly on a construction site. He felt terrible when he thought about her putting her health aside and only thinking about her son.
A week later Robert was sitting at his desk in the bank when he saw Doris enter. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have enough money to pay the first installment. It’s almost half the amount,” she said in a shaky voice. “I promise I’ll pay the rest next time.”
Robert felt terrible when he saw Doris apologize so he told her not to worry about the balance. “I’ll pay the rest of the first installment,” said Robert. “Please don’t worry about it.”
Later that evening, Robert deposited the money from his account to pay Doris’ first installment, unaware that his boss would make a fuss about it. At that point, Robert was only concerned with saving his job, so he transferred the money without worrying about anything else.
The next day Robert was working at his desk when something unexpected happened. Carlos approached him and said he knew the old lady hadn’t paid the first installment.
“I know you deposited the money on her behalf, Robert,” Carlos said calmly. “But that’s not how it works. You have to keep your private life out of your job.”
“She paid half the amount,” Robert said. “She promised she’d pay me back soon.”
“That’s not the point, Robert,” said Carlos. “I’m going to sue her for breach of contract, and you’re coming with me.”
Carlos wanted to teach Robert a lesson. He knew that one day Robert would replace him, so he had to set boundaries for him. Carlos couldn’t let Robert make emotional decisions. He wanted to train Robert to be the best.
Carlos and Robert left the bank a few minutes later to visit Doris. They had kept a legal document detailing what action the bank would take against them if they failed to repay their loan. However, things took a different turn when Carlos came face to face with Doris.
“Oh my God!” Carlos gasped at the sight of the poor woman.
Meanwhile, Robert stared at his boss in shock. He couldn’t understand why Carlos reacted so strangely.
“What are you doing here?” Doris looked at Carlos with raised eyebrows. “You said you didn’t want to see my face or our son! Why are you here?”
“He’s my boss,” Robert interrupted.
“Tell your boss to leave my house immediately!” Doris yelled. “Just like he left us fifteen years ago.”
It turned out that Carlos was Ben’s father. When Ben was six years old, Carlos left him and Doris because he could not meet his work commitments. Instead of taking care of his family, Carlos left home in the middle of the night and never returned. He didn’t call Doris once to find out how she and Ben were doing.
When he learned that Doris had taken out a loan for Ben’s treatment, Carlos didn’t have the courage to show her the legal documents. Instead of telling her why he was visiting, he turned and left the house. At this point, Robert realized that Carlos wasn’t his idol.
“I don’t want to become a terrible man who left his family for his career,” thought Robert. I don’t want to build my career at the expense of my family’s happiness.
Later that evening, Robert apologized to his wife for putting his work first. When he learned about Carlos’ past, he realized the importance of family. From his ideal, Carlos became the person Robert didn’t want to follow.
The next day Robert met Carlos and told him about his plans. “I’m going to repay Doris’s loan and it’s okay if you fire me for it,” Robert said. “I’ve already started looking for other jobs.”
“Sit down, Robert,” said Carlos. “I would like to talk to you.”
After Robert took the chair across from the table, Carlos apologized and said he wasn’t going to fire him. “Not all my rules work, Robert,” he smiled.
“You don’t have to worry about the loan. I’ll take care of it,” Carlos continued. “And I want you to keep working here. I want you to make the rules here.”
Since Robert had already decided to quit his job, he took his time before agreeing to stay. He told Carlos that he would not stay past his working hours and that he would not answer calls or reply to emails at home.
As a result of the new working conditions, Robert spent time with his wife every day after work and their bond grew stronger every day. He soon told her he was ready to have children and the couple prepared to start a family.
What can we learn from this story?
Always get your priorities right. For Robert, his career was more important than his wife, so he spent most of his day at work. However, he realized that he had to reassess his priorities when he found out about Carlos’ past.
Never follow anyone blindly. Robert considered Carlos his ideal and assumed everything Carlos did was right. Robert had no idea that only a few things his boss did were right. Carlos did many things that didn’t align with Robert’s values. Therefore, he no longer looked to his boss as his role model.
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Click here to read another story about an elderly lady whose boss made her cry at work. When her ex-Marine husband found out about this, he asked her to give him the boss’s address.