Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Story of Jose

(I will preface this today with saying that this isn't my original idea, I heard this from a man I know in the 12 step program, who, for traditions' sake will remain anonymous, but I thought it was a good idea to share this.)
The Story of Jose
The story goes that there was a man named Jose, who was an immigrant and janitorial worker in Los Angeles, who worked as a janitor at the only place that would pay him enough to make it worth it, a brothel. All the women who worked there loved him, he was just this nice man who was polite and seemed to genuinely enjoy cleaning up after everyone there and keeping busy. At a time when the majority of customers were being harassed by certain police sweeps and sting operations, the business for the whore house was at a minimal level and didn't see any chance of a return to the kind of business that they had done previously. Jose realized that his job was in danger, so he started making plans to do something else or seek janitorial work somewhere else, though he was having a hard time. 
One day the boss did finally say, "Joe, when you get a chance after you finish today, I would like you to come to my office." Jose knew what this meant and was mentally prepared for the event of his being fired. Something he didn't expect happened. 
The boss told him, "Joe, you are a good worker and we would hate to lose you, but we are having money problems right now and everyone has to double up on jobs if we plan to stay in business at all. We would like you to be the book keeper here, and clean up with your other job in your spare time from that."
Jose smiled but looked apologetic and he knew that he had to explain what he hadn't had to admit since he arrived there to anyone. "The problem with that is that I can't read or write. I never got an education in my homeland and this is not something I can learn or even want to, learn right away." The boss explained about some educational ideas, but Jose rejected them, and eventually he heard the words he had been dreading, "I am sorry, Joe. We will have to find someone else to do your job, so as of now, you are fired."
He smiled, thanked them for their help in employing him for so long and said, "Thanks, I can find something else, I enjoyed working with all of you, Goodbye." And he shook the boss's hand and walked out. The girls there had anticipated his leaving and had a small going away party waiting for him with a gift.
They gave him a basket, beautifully wrapped with cellophane and ribbons, full of fruit and flowers. He admired it a second and then, thanked them all, and tearfully walked out into the street. 
As he was walking to the bus stop. someone stopped him and asked where he got his going away present. He said he didn't really know, it was a gift - and the man started offering him money for it until he said, "I will give you thirty dollars."  Out of a job and needing money, Jose reluctantly gave the man the basket and took his money. 
As he stood there, an idea came to him. He rushed back into the brothel and asked one of the girls where they got the basket. She explained that they made the basket out of things they bought at several different places and put together, reciting the list of what was purchased and where. Joe ran out with his thirty dollars and went to the various stores, knowing he could create 3 more baskets with the that amount. When he sold those three, he made nine more and kept the profit. He kept buying and selling baskets on the corner for a long time.
Fast forwards to 25 years later, he is sitting in his corporate office in
San Francisco, looking out at his fleet of ships from his office window . He had baskets woven from Manila, fruit from Dole and other large growers, ribbon and cellophane from The United Kingdom, and flowers from Japanese garden farms in California. Everything collected and put lovingly together at his factory by hundreds of workers, then sold at stationery and gift stores around the world. He had become a wealthy man from a simple set of accidental circumstances long ago and some determination and hard work. 
One of his administrative assistants was somewhat new and the man brought him a contract, that Jose normally shied away from to protect his secret. The guy kept pushing him to sign some things because he was convinced no one else had the authority. "Joe, this needs YOUR signature, Please?"
Finally Jose smiled and said, "Okay, you have backed me into a corner on this. I have a problem with those, the reason I need people like you to read them over for me and help make decisions based on this is because I can't read or write. So just handle it, OKAY?"
His assistant stood there with his mouth hanging open for a long time, then exclaimed, "Damn, Joe, you are one of the most successful people I know personally. Just think- WHAT IF you could read and write, and had a decent education." 
Joe laughed out loud and then yelled, "YEAH, I would be a janitor and book keeper in a whore house."  

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