Today’s story is about a man who decided to teach his son a lesson after he saw him mock a boy whose mother cleaned toilets at his hotel.
Andrew Fleming was a wealthy businessman who owned a luxurious chain of hotels in New York. However, life had never been easy for him, and at the time, when most children started school, Andrew had to work multiple jobs to support his family.
His mother had died of cancer, and his father had a lung disease that necessitated costly treatment. So even though Andrew was not well-versed in bookish knowledge at a young age, he knew how to make money, his way around things, and how the world worked.
Thankfully, that experience served him well when he decided to start his own business, and the man now owns several hotels that serve one of the most renowned celebrities of all time.
However, it is said that to gain something, you must first lose something. And like the proverb, Andrew had lost something too in the process of building his large business.
Unfortunately, he and his wife had been so focused on making money for their son so he didn’t miss out on anything, they had forgotten their responsibility to shape their child’s character and teach him the value of respect for others.
So it wasn’t surprising that their 10-year-old son, Ethan, looked down on those who weren’t as wealthy as him.
One evening, after escorting some guests out of his hotel, Andrew saw his son talking to a boy he’d never seen before.
“Just stay away from me. Don’t you dare come closer!” Ethan threatened him. “My dad owns this hotel, and your mom is just the toilet cleaner!”
Andrew’s heart sank when he heard his son’s remark. “Ethan!” Andrew cried. “What are you doing there?”
“Oh, dad!” Ethan turned around to look at him, his face beaming with a smile. “How was your day? Mom dropped me off here because she had some work!”
Andrew’s gaze fell on the boy standing behind his son, and he noticed the boy’s eyes had welled up. Andrew knelt in front of him and politely asked, “If you don’t mind, would you please excuse us for a moment?” The little boy nodded then ran away.
Andrew looked at Ethan. “So what were you saying to him?”
“Nothing much, Dad! His mother cleans the toilets, so I warned him not to get too close because he’s filthy!”
“Oh, so he’s dirty just because his mom cleans toilets?” Andrew asked.
“Obviously, dad!” Ethan replied without hesitation. “Anyway, dad, when are you gonna buy me the new PlayStation?”
“Do you really mean it, Ethan?”
“What? About the boy and his mom? Yes, dad! They are people who clean up after other people. That’s disgusting!”
“Ah, yes, I see…” Andrew stated quietly, an idea forming in his head. “By the way, I’ve changed my mind. I’m not going to give you the PlayStation. You’ll have to earn it!”
“What do you mean by I’ll have to earn it, dad? We are rich! You can easily buy me one!” Ethan remarked.
“No, Ethan,” Andrew said flatly. “You’ll work in the hotel after school for four weeks to earn it. The first week, you’ll assist the cleaners in cleaning at least two rooms, the second week, you’ll organize and wash crockery, then let’s keep the last two weeks easy for you — you’ll be assisting the waiters!”
“What?” Ethan cried. “NO WAY, DAD! I DON’T WANT ANYTHING, BUT I WON’T DO ALL OF THAT!”
Andrew smiled. “You don’t have much of a choice, son. If you don’t do it, you won’t get anything for the rest of your life, no pocket money, no parties, nothing. Are you okay with that?”
Ethan stayed silent for a minute then spoke up. “Fine, dad! But only for one month!”
“Sure,” Andrew replied, smiling.
The next day, after returning from school, Ethan started working at the hotel. Just a few hours after cleaning the first room, he was entirely covered in dust. Andrew watched him work, smiling as his son struggled, but deep down, he was content that the boy was learning his lesson.
As the day drew to a close, Ethan nearly collapsed on the car seat. “Oh my God, Dad! Will it be this hectic every day?”
“Wait, Ethan! You’re covered in dust! Let’s get you home first. You need to wash up!”
“Dad!” Ethan cried. “I’m talking about my problems here, and you’re concerned about…” Suddenly, Ethan remembered how he had mocked the boy because his mother was a cleaner. “Well, never mind,” he said quietly.
Andrew just smiled and drove the boy home.
This continued for the next week and the week after that. Ethan would work at the hotel every day after returning from school and then ride back home with his father. However, his constant complaints about the work began to fade and were eventually replaced by apologies.
While Ethan and his father were driving back home one day, the boy apologized to his father. “I should not have mocked that boy that day, dad. His name is Sam. Now that I’m only working part-time, I realize how difficult it is. I’m so sorry, Dad!”
Andrew didn’t respond to his son and instead drove Ethan to the apartment where he lived before starting his business. Ethan was taken aback when he came to a halt in a dark and seedy neighborhood. “Why are we here, dad? This place looks so shady!”
“Well, Ethan, this is where I began my career. I stayed in the house on the left.” When his father pointed to an almost broken-down tiny house, Ethan couldn’t believe his eyes.
“Do you know that I started my career as a cleaner? My mother died when I was young, and I needed money to care for my father. Because I didn’t have a degree, that was the only job I could get.
“So, before you mock anyone, remember that whatever you have is the result of your father working hard at whatever job he got and never looking down on anything. I was very disappointed when you mocked someone’s work, Ethan.”
“I’m sorry, dad!” Ethan said, embarrassed. “I’ll never do it again!”
“Well, you shouldn’t be sorry to me. You need to apologize to Sam! Alright?”
“I will, dad! I promise!” Ethan replied. And the next day, he apologized to Sam. In the end, Ethan and Sam didn’t really become friends, but Ethan never looked down upon anyone from that day on.
What can we learn from this story?
Ridiculing someone just because they aren’t as wealthy as you are is a really cheap thing to do. The way Ethan looked down upon Sam and mocked him wasn’t a good thing at all.
Sometimes you need to be strict with your children to teach them the right thing. The way Andrew taught a lesson to Ethan is a beautiful example of this.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman who left her young daughter her house and her elder only an old stroller and a dirty doll.