In my late 20’s, I was working in Jackson, MS, at a family-owned business where I was responsible for all the personnel stuff – hiring, firing, payroll, benefits – you know, fun stuff like that. The family I worked for consisted of an elderly couple, their son, and their son-in-law. The son-in-law was my direct boss, and he was a good boss for the most part, but I felt he didn’t really trust me in the payroll area. It was more than the necessary double-check of numbers. It seemed that he felt I might steal from them or something.
Not being from Jackson, I was a “foreigner”. My boss knew nothing about me when he hired me, except what was provided on my resume and what a few references had said when he’d called them. I had only worked there a couple of months. So he “looked over my shoulder” and was more involved in my payroll paperwork than previous bosses had been. (Yes, we were still handling payroll largely on paper and only a small portion on computers.) My boss’s mistrust and apparent suspicion bothered me. How could I let him know that I could be trusted?
One day we had a man visit the business to help my boss with a special project of sorts. They were working together in my boss’s office on the project when I popped by to report to him on something I was working on. He proceeded to introduce me to his guest. Because my last name, my maiden name, was not a very common one, the visitor asked if I was related to a man named Ron. I told him “Yes, that is my Dad.” He smiled and told me of his dealings with my dad through business, which surprised me because my father lived in a town an hour and a half away from Jackson, and he told me how he respected my dad. I thanked him and went back to my office to continue my work.
Later that afternoon when the visitor had left the office, my boss brought up again the topic of my dad. Apparently, these men had continued to discuss my father after I’d left the room. My boss asked me if I realized the value of a good name? He relayed a little more of what the man had shared with him and commented on the fact that I had a treasured gift of a good name. Wow! I knew I had good, honest parents who loved me and had “raised me right”, and the fact that I actually liked them said a lot, too. (I was old enough that their “dumb phase” was over.) But I’d never considered the gift my boss seemed to find so important. I guess I had taken it for granted. Of all the conversations I had in business settings through the years, that one has stuck with me the most prominently these 25 years since. Every time I recall it, I stop and appreciate the gift my dad gave me.
The result of the visitor’s comments that day brought me trust from my boss. The mistrust and suspicion seemed to soften immediately. I had done nothing different to earn it. I’ve never told Dad this story until now. THANKS, DAD! Your good name truly has been a gift that has continued throughout my life, and the event in the office that day made me consider my actions differently from that point forward. Not that I’ve been perfect by any stretch, as you well know! I can never repay your gift, but I just had to HOOT about you today. Happy Father’s Day! I love you, and I am proud to be your daughter.