After a tense conversation with his father, Colin ran out of the office in frustration and decided to run an errand and buy groceries. At the shop he mockingly mocked the elderly gentleman, who did not match his desired speed, oblivious to the fact that he would meet him at his workplace the next day. Colin could not have imagined that the same elderly man would become his boss some time later.
“Dad, I’m pleading with you,” Colin nearly begged his father for assistance.
“No! I explicitly warned you that venturing into the business was ill-advised. Resolve it on your own or revert to law school, just like everyone else in our family!” his father’s voice boomed through the phone, and Colin winced upon hearing the abrupt end of the call.
He refrained from throwing his phone against the wall, knowing it would be an irrational act. His entire existence had been meticulously planned out from the moment he was born: studying law and following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather as a criminal defense attorney.
Initially, Colin believed he desired this path, but midway through his law degree, he made a surprising switch to business school, leaving his family astounded. Soon after, he embarked on an entrepreneurial journey, founding a startup with a brilliant concept for supplying technology products. However, his vision was met with incomprehension by his family.
As his savings dwindled, Colin found himself desperately seeking investors. Regrettably, it seemed that nobody was particularly interested. He attended numerous gatherings, networking with affluent individuals in his vicinity, connecting with the right people, and reaching out to former classmates, yet all his efforts were in vain.
Asking his father for money was not ideal, but Colin thought he would cave and help his only son. He still thought his son should’ve become a lawyer, although it wasn’t his passion.
He stared at his empty office in a tiny building and shook his head. Looking at his phone again, he noticed a reminder to buy a few things from the grocery store, and it was perfect timing. He needed to get away from his depressing situation.
The absence of his preferred bread at the store added to Colin’s annoyance. To make matters worse, an elderly man was utilizing the self-checkout register. Colin sighed and joined the line behind him since the other cashiers were occupied.
The old man struggled with his items, prompting Colin to stoop down and retrieve one for him.
“Thank you, young man,” the old man expressed his gratitude.
Colin mustered a barely visible smile and began impatiently tapping his foot, hoping the man would hasten his actions. However, that was not the case. The old man was not placing his items correctly on the scanner, causing unnecessary delays.
“Come on, man,” Colin eventually snapped. “If you don’t know how to use these machines, go to the regular registers and spare the other customers’ time.”
“I apologize, young man,” the old man responded, squinting at Colin.
“What? Am I being rude? Well, so what?” Colin adopted a mocking tone. “Technology isn’t meant for everyone, old man. You either adapt quickly or get left behind!”
Finally, a store employee arrived to assist the elderly man, as Colin’s derisive remarks had attracted the attention of other customers. He swiftly scanned his own items, left the store, and drove off as soon as possible. The older man was just completing his purchase when Colin’s car passed by.
Colin was checking his emails the next day, trying desperately to connect with an investor and get a meeting, when the door to his office opened wide. He jumped from his chair.
“Hey, what’s the meaning of this?” he asked, appalled and ready to call security.
“Are you Mr. Feinstein?” a man in a sharp suit asked in a no-nonsense tone.
“Yes,” Colin frowned.
Then, other men appeared, entering his office one by one. After years of seeing his father and grandfather dealing with the same kind of people, Colin knew they were lawyers. However, his jaw almost dropped when the older man was the grocery store entered behind the others.
Unlike the fumbling cute retiree he saw yesterday, this man was dressed to the nine and carrying a briefcase. “Mr. Feinstein, I have an offer for your company. These are my lawyers. Can you call one of your own? I want to get this done quick,” the old man said, and Colin could only scramble to find seats for everyone in his office.
He reached out to his cousin, who specialized in corporate law, and swiftly arranged for him to attend the meeting. The man he was about to meet was Mr. Cleary, the owner of an asset management firm. They expressed interest in acquiring Colin’s company but under the condition that he relinquish complete ownership and only serve as the Chief Technology Officer.
Although hesitant, Colin realized that Mr. Cleary made it evident that no other investors would come forward. Mr. Cleary possessed cunning and ruthlessness, and Colin’s cousin assured him that this was a favorable deal. Reluctantly, Colin agreed. Little did he know that this decision marked just the beginning of his journey.
Under Mr. Cleary’s supervision, Colin was not given the autonomy to manage things independently. Mr. Cleary closely monitored his every move, criticizing his mistakes, belittling his business acumen, and even insulting him despite Colin’s ability to rectify errors and achieve positive outcomes.
Despite the nightmarish situation, the company began to experience exponential growth. This was largely due to Mr. Cleary’s influential connections and the talented individuals he brought into the fold. The business thrived, and Colin’s success finally garnered approval from his father.
Over time, Colin rose to the position of CEO, delegating his previous responsibilities to exceptionally qualified professionals. Mr. Cleary had long taken a step back, allowing Colin to handle the operations. It had been a while since Colin had last seen him. However, one day, a lawyer—one of the many he had encountered during that pivotal moment years ago—unexpectedly entered his office.
“Mr. Cleary has passed. There are a few things we need to discuss, Mr. Feinstein. But first, you must read this letter,” the lawyer sat again, just as no-nonsense as he was years ago. He passed Colin a letter written on Mr. Cleary’s stationery.
His fingers trembled as he opened it. He’s giving me my company, right?
I met a kid years ago at a grocery store that was biting more than he could chew, but I knew there was something about you that would make you good at business. I tested you all those years. I put you through the wringer actually. But it worked. You’re ready to take over this company and my asset management fund. Good luck, and don’t screw up, idiot.”
His eyes went to the lawyer, flaring in surprise as his head shook. It couldn’t be real. But the lawyer confirmed it. He had brought in paperwork for Colin to sign. The process took a while as he read through stuff and called his cousin again.
But eventually, they were done. Colin was Mr. Cleary’s official successor and the new owner of a vast empire. When everyone left the office, he stood, watching the bustle of the city at night with his hands in his pockets.
“Stupid old man,” he whispered, and a tear ran down his face.