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The Little Boy & The CEO

The CEO of a big fast-food chain sat in his corner office looking out into the bright blue sky with his childhood friend. Through sheer grit and determination, he’d built the company from his father’s modest neighbourhood food outlet thirty years ago. It was now his fiftieth birthday and he was reflecting on his life.

'I have this feeling that there is something missing,” he complained to his friend who was sitting across the table.

“Take a break,” said his friend, noticing the tinge of gloom, “God knows you have earned it!”

The next day, the CEO and his friend boarded a bus that would take them to the most challenging trek up in the mountains. ‘A new challenge,’ thought the friend, would set the CEO right. As the bus wound up the spiral mountain roads, the two friends chatted freely while the scenery from their window alternated between deep valleys and dense forests. After four hours, the bus stopped at a small roadside tea shop for a short break where they sat on the modest plastic chairs. A little boy was busy waiting tables.  

‘What can I get you?’ said the tea shop owner’s boy.

‘We will have two cups of tea please,’ said the friend.

‘What is that?’ asked the boy to the CEO.

‘Oh, this? This is a phone. But it doesn’t work. No signal,’ said the CEO.

‘Can I see it?’ asked the boy, ‘I can give you an extra biscuit.’

‘Sure,’ said the CEO smiling, ‘but I will need two biscuits for this.’

After fetching the tea and the biscuits and tinkering enough with the phone, the little boy returned.

‘What do you do?’ asked the boy, impressed with the phone.

‘I run a company,’ said the CEO.  

‘What is a company?’ asked the boy.    

‘Okay, I have a shop just like yours here,’ said the CEO.

‘Do you sell tea?’ said the boy, a little worried.

‘No, no,’ the CEO let out a chuckle, ‘I have a shop that sells food.’

‘What do you do in the shop?’ said the boy, ‘my father brews tea, looks after cash and I wait tables.’

‘Well, I don’t do any of those things myself, I have people who make the food and I have accountants, people, who manage cash and people who run around to serve customers,’ said the CEO.

‘But, what do you do?’ said the boy now studying the CEO as if he was an exotic mountain flower.

‘Well, I manage people who do all the stuff,’ said the CEO, a little startled.

‘The whole day?’ said the boy.

‘Yes,’ said the CEO turning to protest to his friend, ‘that’s what I do the whole day. Day after day after day.’

The boy shrugged his shoulders and was about to leave when he was stopped by the CEO.

‘Wait! What do you think I should do?’ said the CEO.

‘I don’t know, but if it was my shop, I would serve the customers. It is so much fun, they have such interesting stories!’ said the boy.

‘But I have many shops,’ said the CEO, ‘I can’t serve customers in every shop!’

‘But you can serve customers in any shop,’ said the boy, shrugging his shoulders and leaving.

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