Would You Do This For Your Friend?

In Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Teal Book of Trust there is a part with a bunch of stories about people who he has grown to trust for one reason or another. When I read the story below it wasn’t necessarily that this guy went out of his way to help a friend and subsequently created life-long trust. Rather, what struck me the most was the genuineness of the act itself.

And maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I feel that truly genuine people are hard to find so it made this story an especially cool one to read. It also reminded me that every day we have countless opportunities to affect the lives of those around us in positive ways.

After you read this story think about the last time you did something genuine for someone … that is, without expecting anything in return.


“I met Richard Greaves in 1981 in Milwaukee. He was a factory worker at a screen printing plant. Along with my consulting partner, Duke Daulton, we recommended that Richard be made plant manager.

The client took the recommendation, and we coached Richard on the success characteristics of running a factory.

He was willing, grateful, and exceptionally responsive student who rose above the task.

Richard became frustrated with his employer, and I found him another job running a screen printing factory in California.

Then, in 1983, I decided to open up another garment manufacturing and printing company and immediately called Richard to run the plant. Everything had to be set up from scratch – machines, art department, screen burning, and every aspect of textile screen printing. Working 18 hours a day, living in an apartment three blocks away from the factory, running home every day to record an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Richard set up a phenomenal and smooth-running operation.

I was flying around the country making sales while Richard was dutifully in the factory drinking Mountain Dew, working double shifts, and exceeding production expectations.

One day on the road, I became deathly ill with the flu and had to fly back home to Philadelphia at a moment’s notice. The night before, there was a major snowstorm that dumped more than two feet of snow all over the city. My car was in the airport parking lot, buried.

I had no idea what to expect when my plane landed. All I could think about was somehow getting my car out of wherever it was stuck and getting home to a nice, warm bed where I could vegetate and recover.  Stumbling through baggage claim, sick as a dog, and boarding a bus to long-term parking, I dreaded finding my car buried under two feet of snow.

Not surprisingly, I forgot exactly where I had parked my car and made the bus driver go on a tour of the parking lot to where I thought it might be. “Here it is!” I screamed. The parking lot was a blanket of snow. Every car was buried except for one.

One car was completely clean and dug out all the way to the aisle, providing a clear path to exit. Immediately, I knew who did it. Richard Greaves had driven 30 miles from the factory, somehow found my car in the parking lot, and completely removed every flake of snow from the car and the surrounding area.

That was 25 years ago, and I still thank Richard every time I see him.”


1 comment so far

  1. Richard Greaves on

    I knew Jeffrey had not taken a coat and didn’t have anything to clean his car when he got back.

    It’s also part of a friendly “one-up-manship” of kindness and family that is part of being in business with Jeffrey.

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