BY SUSAN MORRIS (AKA, YAYA) – A GRAND Reader
My father was a Greek. He loved children, he loved his wife, and did the traditional career of many American Greeks …. he had a restaurant in a small southern town in Florida. My father and mother were in concert that you treat everyone with respect until you have reason to do otherwise.
My father always said a person deserves respect for how they do their job not and not for what their job is. So if a man is a janitor and he does his job very well, you hold him in high esteem. If another man is a doctor but allows himself to put a priority on money versus compassionate care, you do not hold him in high esteem.
I was so proud and so moved that in this small southern town, his memory held by others was not defined by race.
In 1970, my father sold his business at an early age of 54. He always thought he was going to die young. When he sold, he gave his head chef $10,000, and his second in command in the kitchen $7,000. They had worked for him for over 20 years. Small town businesses did not offer pension and insurance programs in 1970. That equaled about 15% of his sale price, in today’s money 50 years later that would be like giving $100,000 and $70,000, to employees you have no legal obligation but he honored a moral obligation to share with key people who helped him get there.
When he died, the two black women, who received that money, plus 3 others who had worked with him, 35 years before, came to his funeral and stood and each shared a story about my father. I was so proud and so moved that in this small southern town, his memory held by others was not defined by race.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – SUSAN MORRIS-WEBSTER
Susan is the proud mom of two daughters and proud grandmom of three grandkchildren.