Volume 48, Issue 7- July 2013

The Business

A Story — Maybe Two

by Lyle R. Hill

I answered it just as it began its third ring and offered my usual greeting.

“Hey Lyle, its Mario,” the midafternoon caller replied without offering a last name.

The name Mario is not very common, although I have no doubt whatsoever that many might contend that the name Lyle is not all that common either.

“Mario, it’s nice to hear from you,” I answered back not knowing for sure with whom I was speaking.

“Thanks, Lyle. I was hoping to catch you in and if you have a minute I would like to tell you a little story.”

The voice sounded familiar but I was having a hard time placing it. I needed to hear just a little more.

“Well Mario, no one loves a good story more than me.”

“I was hoping you would say that, Lyle and I’ll try to be brief.”

Okay, now I had him. You see, there are three people named Mario in my life. One is Mario Veltri from Netcost Claim Services and another is my neighbor Mario. Both of these Marios are from Chicago and the Mario on the phone was not talking like a Chicago Mario. That meant that the caller had to be none other than Mario Ercolini from Wholesale Glass Distributors in Memphis. Mario Ercolini is a South Carolina native, if my memory is correct, and definitely does not talk like a Chicago Mario.

“You know Mario, I don’t think we’ve talked since last year’s Auto Glass Week and while we’re on the subject, will I be seeing you in Tampa in September?”

“Wouldn’t think of missing it, Lyle. Now about that story, have you got a few minutes?”

I like Mario Ercolini. He’s not only a good business man but a good guy as well and I was pleased that he had taken the time to track me down and share a story.

“Mario, I am all yours. Let’s hear it.”

“Okay Lyle, I had this route guy—I’ll call him Mickey for the sake of the story—and he was a really good employee. You know the type: dependable, loyal, trustworthy and productive in every way. Well his route was being shifted to be handled out of another branch and that meant that Mickey would be out of a job. I didn’t want to lose this really valuable guy and, as fate would have it, I had another position I could shift him to but there was just one big problem in the way.”

“What kind of a problem, Mario?”

“Lyle, the job that was available for Mickey would require him to use a computer for order entry and updates and the like and he had never used a computer before. He watched his kids use them all the time but Mickey is a bit intimidated by them. They were just something that he had never had any interest in and at this point in his life, he just felt like it was too late to learn.”

“Wow, Mario. That’s a shame. I mean, here you’ve got this great guy that you trust and can depend upon but if he’s not able to adapt, what can you do?”

“Actually Lyle, that’s where you come in.”

“You’ll have to explain that to me, Mario. How do I come into this story?”

“Well, you do because at that point, I actually said to myself … what would Lyle do?”

“You gotta be kidding me here, Mario!”

“I am not kidding, Lyle. And after asking myself that question and thinking about it for a minute or two, I knew just what you would do and I acted accordingly.”

“So tell me Mario, what exactly did you do that you thought I would have done in this same situation?”

“I told a story. After all, isn’t that what you usually do?”

“Good grief, Mario. Are you crazy? We’re talking about a guy’s career here. And he’s got kids and everything and now your answer to his situation is to tell him a story because that’s what you think I would do?”

“Calm down, Lyle. Do you want to hear the story or not?”

“Only on the condition that I am not blamed when this whole Mickey situation unravels on you, Mario.”

“Okay. I told Mickey the story of my grandfather, Ernesto Octavius.” “Hold it – your grandfather’s name was Ernesto Octavius Ercolini?”

“No, Lyle. This was my grandfather on my mother’s side. His last name was Jones.”

“Thanks for clearing that up, Mario. Now let’s get back to your story.”

“Well, Grandpa Jones was a turn-of-the-century milk man and for nearly 30 years he delivered his dairy products every morning with a horse-drawn wagon. He loved his job. He loved his horse. He loved his family and life was good. But one day, his boss called him into his office and said Ernesto Octavius Jones, it is a new era and we have bought you a gasoline engine truck and therefore you will no longer make deliveries with a horse-drawn wagon. Naturally, he was crushed. He had never driven a gasoline engine vehicle and was even a bit afraid of them. He didn’t think he could possibly operate such a dangerous machine. But if he didn’t, how would he support his family? Delivering milk was the only job he had ever had.”

“Okay, Mario. I think I see where this is going but just in case I’m wrong, please continue.”

“You are truly kind, and especially so for someone of Irish heritage. Well, as you may have guessed, Grandpa Jones loved his family very much and worked hard to master the art of driving that new milk truck. In fact, he became the pride of the family and just a couple of years later became the driving instructor for the dairy company that employed him. So the lesson here, Lyle, is that we need to be willing to embrace new technologies and not fear them.”

“Not bad, Mario. Not bad at all. And I guess Mickey picked up on what you were trying to tell him by way of this cute little story.”

“Mickey who, Lyle?”

“The guy who lost his route and needed to learn how to use a computer. That Mickey!”

“Oh, that Mickey. Yes he did and I am pleased to report that he is doing quite well and I am very proud of him.”

“Well Mario, that was certainly an interesting story and I always like it when a story has a happy ending, but can I ask you a question or two?”

“Of course, Lyle, as long as I get to ask one of you as well.”

“Fair enough. So here’s my first question, Mario … did you really have a grandfather by the name of Ernesto Octavius Jones?”

“What difference does it make, Lyle?” “I see, and is the story about the horse-drawn milk wagon true?”

“What difference does it make, Lyle?”

“Hmmmmmmm. I see.” “Now, Lyle, my question of you. Are all those stories you tell in USGlass magazine from month-to-month true?”

“What difference does it make, Mario?”

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