Dana sat in the plush chair in the meeting room and gazed forward at Melvin. He was delivering a state of the company address, as he told her he did once a month. It was a mandatory meeting for everyone within the company, otherwise she wouldn't have gone. She was dealing with a call from an angry retailer in Livonia she had contacted about faxing their inventory sheets to her. They chewed her ear off over some missing units from last week's initial shipment order. That was why the retailer refused to pay for the missing inventory. After she calmed the client down and finally got off the phone, she double-checked the payment report listed in Calloway's ledger, and it reported that that retailer had paid in full.
That was odd.
Before she could follow up on it, Melvin paged the entire company on the intercom and reminded them that the companywide meeting was about to begin in a half an hour, not nearly enough time for her to investigate the discrepancy.Dana decided not to dwell on that issue at the moment. She was too busy listening to the rest of Melvin's speech.
"You all need to give yourselves a pat on the back," Melvin said, "as a matter of fact, I want each of you right now to turn and pat the person to your left on the back right now." Dana was amazed at how quickly everyone obeyed, especially when she felt a hand tap her upper back. Melvin continued, "Our company is doing better now than any of us could have imagined! We're one of the top products consistently with our retailers, and we just landed some major automobile contracts. And all of this is because of the hard work, dedication and integrity you all put into this company!" A roar of applause, and Melvin continued, "See, integrity is the most major element of why we are so successful. We do well because we put out quality product and we don't take shortcuts. None of you in programming do, none of you in manufacturing do, none of you in shipping and receiving do, and none of you in management do. We are dedicated to our product and our customers, and that is why we are going to be one of the featured companies in next month's Crain's business magazine!"
A thunderous applause erupted from the audience as Melvin continued, "And it gets even better, people. Here's what I want you to all to do. I want you, if you can, to save a hundred dollars out of one of your paychecks over the next few months. Why? Because you're going to need that hundred to buy one hundred shares of stock in our company at a fraction of our IPO. That's right, everybody: We are currently putting things into place which will allow us to go public!"
The applause this time was even more deafening than the last round of applause. Dana looked around at her coworkers. They were whooping and hollering, standing on their feet and clapping, cheering their boss on. Melvin's words had a resounding impact on them all, and they stood behind him as if they would have walked through fire for the man. Melvin's ability to inspire couldn't have been on brighter display. Dana couldn't help being impressed.
"This can't be the Melvin I used to know." Dana mumbled to herself. She still couldn't believe it. He was so confident and at ease with himself in this environment, nothing at all like the insecure boy who constantly needed her approval and support. The old Melvin whined nonstop about how ignored and unappreciated he was at high school and at home, starving for approval from his peers and family. This Melvin didn't seem to have that problem at all.
"Aliens must have kidnapped the old Melvin and replaced his brain with this guy's," She mumbled.
After the meeting, She walked up to Melvin as he was gathering his materials to leave. She noticed that Melvin was always the first one in and the last one out, whether it was with business hours or with meetings. It was a little thing that said a lot about Melvin's dedication to his company.
"That was a good speech," she said as she approached him, "you really got them going."
"Thanks," Melvin said modestly, "You have to keep your employees motivated, and remind them from time to time that they are doing well and you are looking at them. It reassures them and gives them confidence, and it also deters slackers."
"You seem to really be in your element when you're doing business," Dana pointed out, "I think being a business leader might be your calling."
Melvin grinned, and humbly shrugged. "Being a leader means nothing if you don't have good workers behind you who are good at what they do," he said.
Dana nodded. "We didn't get to go to lunch," she said, "how are you and Roy doing?"
Melvin smiled, "We're still at work, Dana. Doesn't this violate our agreement?"
Dana smiled and shrugged, "I'll let it slide this time," she said, "I'm in a good mood. Roy's been a lot better behaved since he's started hanging out with you. His grades are back up, too. He seems to really enjoy being around you."
Melvin shrugged again, "I just try to do right by him, letting him know that his old man isn't a complete jerk, like he may have thought."
"So, you've told him?" Dana asked.
"Told him what?"
"That you were his father."
Melvin made an embarrassed face and rubbed the back of his neck, "Well, uh," he stammered, "You see, it's like this..."
Dana's jaw dropped. "You haven't told him yet?" she said in an awestruck whisper, "it's been over two weeks!"
"Don't worry," Melvin said apologetically, "I will! I'm just waiting for the right moment, that's all."
Dana's good mood quickly soured. How could he withhold that from his own son? "And when will that moment be, Melvin?" she asked in a low growl, "After you're dead and gone, and he's left wondering why? You're not right, Melvin, and you know it."
She didn't want to hear another word from him. She quickly spun around and stormed out of the meeting room, grunting along the way and regretting she even brought the subject up.