A Story 30 Years In The Making

Last weekend we had our Annual Meeting starting with lunch on Friday, breakfast the next morning followed by a sweet and short one hour meeting with me talking about 2022 results and 2023 plans. It was then off to Costco by bus where everyone had one hour to spend $1000. Shopping sprees are always a sight for the eyes and the wonderment involved in watching people shop with free money.

Afterwards we got back on the bus and went to The Gandy Dancer in Ann Arbor for lunch. While dessert was served, I stood up and like every year beforehand, toasted to health. I then went on to tell a story. As a loyal reader, you get to read my story.

The BUB and I are in our backyard last summer on a Friday night. As customary for zillions of years, we celebrate Martini Friday, the culmination of a great week and life celebration. And with the BUB’s new love of Kenny Chesney, Friday night’s are now Kenny nights and nothing better than his double live album to listen to.

As we finish the martini, I tell the BUB that I have this wild idea to do something special for our 30+ year employees who have been with the company. At 10 years, we offer them an all-expense paid trip to Vegas or Disney and at 20 years, a one-week Caribbean cruise.

I said if we do $100 a year, that would be $3000 (we have three qualifying employees this year). BUB loved the idea.

Just then Summertime, BUB’s favorite song came on and she asked “What are we drinking now?” I said a glass of wine sounds good so she grabbed the bottle and poured us a glass. Mind you, it’s 80 degrees outside, the sun is still shining and life is good. I also know that once this song starts to play, we will be dancing. As the song finishes, she says, “What about $250 instead?” I say “You know that is $7500.”

As Kenny continues with his live tunes, BUB asks “So what are we drinking now?” She recommends a nice bourbon pour and I say “Sounds good!” As she gets the bourbon, I serve the apps, yummy ahi tuna and guac and fresh Michigan tomato bruschetta. In between bites, I say, “What do you think about $500 a  year?” BUB loves the idea even though it costs $15,000.

Now Kenny is belting out Boston and that means we have to get up and dance some more (you know he only sings this song live in Boston). Then she asks as the bourbon is gone, “So what are we drinking now?” I’m thinking as the main course is getting ready to be plated, “Sounds like a good time for a nice single malt.”

As Kenny is finishing up singing Boston, BUB wails out, “I think we should do $1000 a year!” I say to her “Are you crazy!” That’s $30,000!

Needless to say, everyone in the room is speechless and listening to my every word. The three qualifying employees (Gary, Dan & Jesse) are not even close to comprehending my story because certainly it cannot be true and I told everyone at the beginning that there were a few embellishments to my story.

As I finished the story, I took envelopes out of my sports coat pocket and said, “OK, I have three envelopes here so let’s see what part of my story is true. Everyone gasped. They wondered if I really was going to pass out money to these guys and how much would it be.

So I brought Gary up because he has been with us the longest, 32 years. I then told him to sit down because the story was not done. I went on to say that the checks are tax-free so as not to affect TNG’s bottom line as they are a gift from the BUB and I. Everyone gasped again.

Finally Gary comes up and I present him with the envelope. He slowly opens it up, takes out the check and as only Gary could say, “No fucking way.” I asked him how much the check was for. Gary was pretty much speechless but did manage to say “$30,000.” Not only did everyone gasp again, tears started pouring and it was a moment that would never be forgotten.

Next up was Dan who was a teary eyed as could be and he barely made it up. He opened the envelope and was totally in shock. Hugs, hugs and more hugs.

Last but not least was Jesse and he was still in shock as well and barely heard his name being called. I was hoping we didn’t have to call 911 he was shaking so much thinking to himself, “Can this really be happening?” Luckily he made it up OK and he opened the envelope. I asked him how much was the check for and for a brief moment, his sense of humor kicked in when he said “$60,000.” Everyone gasped. Especially both Gary and Dan. But he was quick to say it was for $30,000.

The best part about the story is how everyone in the room was genuinely happy for them. With so much bad going on these days, it was so nice to see what happens when so much good makes a difference.

I then went on to say that all 30 year employees would be receiving $30,000 and the room gasped one last time.

We finished dessert, boarded the bus and headed back to TNG. Now you know the rest of the  story.

Happy holidays!