Many, many people out there have this perception that business owners are greedy, money hungry, step on the backs of their workers; do anything to make a buck kind of people. While I am sure that there are business owners out there who have that mentality, I prefer to think that these types of bosses, CEO’s, and owners are the exception, not the rule. Maybe I am naïve in that belief, but I would rather live in a world where I believe in the general good of people, and not that the world is full of a bunch of evil SOB’s.
While most of the news that we seem to get about bosses, CEO’s, and business owners seems to paint them with a broad brush of negativity, occasionally there is a nice story, like the one that follows.
Howard Cooper owned an auto dealership that he began in 1965. He and his family ran that business for 47 years, eventually employing 89 people. Well, after those 47 years of ownership, and I am sure after experiencing many economic ups and downs along the way – existing for 47 years means there were more ups than downs – Mr. Cooper, at the age of 83, thought it was time to retire and decided to sell his auto dealership to Germain Motor Company.
A big part of the deal was that Mr. Cooper insisted upon employee retention by the soon to be new owners, which meant that he turned down higher offers from others who wanted to buy the dealership. That right there should speak to the fact that Howard Cooper isn’t all about the Benjamins, however like they say in infomercials, “But wait, there’s more!”
No, Howard Cooper wasn’t satisfied with just ensuring his employees were as valued and respected by the new owners as they were by him, he had to show them (the employees) even more respect and gratitude. What Mr. Cooper did was give every employee that worked for him $1000 for every year of their employment at his dealership. One employee who was with him from the beginning, 47 years, was given a check for $47,000, another 26 year employee received $26,000. Don’t think though that if you were only there a few months that you were forgotten, or left out, because they weren’t. Employees with six month tenures received $500, and if you were there only a couple of months then you were given $83.
I’d say that is a pretty magnanimous gesture from this business owner, and a far cry from the portrayal that all capitalists are those evil, money grubbing, users of the weak, that many people out there have right now. Again, I like to think that folks like Mr. Cooper are the rule, and not the exception. It’s just that in today’s world the news outlets know that more people tune in to hear about the controversial and bad news, than they do to hear good news and good stories. That is a shame because it’s good stories like Mr. Cooper’s and his employees that get relegated to the back pages of the newspapers, and hardly even mentioned in the news casts.
Seek to do good, and you will find that happiness will run after you. (James Freeman Clarke)