The Businessman



closet trunk (2) look like (2)
gusto pull up throw/threw/thrown
series prospect backup (2)
befall proposal draw upon
hardly declare crossroads
murky struggle heading (2)
rough safe (2) checkbook
supply payroll shake/shook/shaken
shout signature parted company
tact demand cash a check
vigor vitality dive/dove (2)
fold put forth safety measure
muffin cash flow get a hold of himself
float climb out pick out (3)
chunk emerge downturn
grab bother I can hardly wait
wander peculiar terms of credit






Arriving Home

“Susan? What are you doing,” Roy asked when he arrived home from work.
“What does it LOOK LIKE I’m doing?!?” Susan replied as she took clothes from a closet and threw them into some large suitcases.
“But . . . but . . . where are you going?”
“You don’t need to know.”

When she had finished packing, Susan took her suitcases outside, onto the sidewalk and stood there waiting.

In a few minutes a yellow taxi pulled up next to her. The driver helped Susan place her suitcases in the trunk. She got in, and they drove off.

Series of Events

This was but the latest of a series of events to befall Roy and his bakery business. As the owner and operator of several bakeries throughout the city, he had a decent income.

However, over the past few years, new bakeries began popping up. Then there the downturn in the economy. Customers began buying fewer of his cakes, pies, donuts, croissants, cupcakes, muffins, and other pastries.

Several of his clients canceled major orders with him.

In the Red

Then Roy’s suppliers and creditors demanded that he pay them . . . in cash. But after payroll, taxes and other expenses, he hardly had any money left.

Soon his business went in the red.

Roy reached a crossroads: to continue struggling — or declare bankruptcy and close his bakery.

The Bridge

That evening Roy walked over to the city bridge and began crossing it.

At the half-way point he stopped. He looked down. The waters, some 40 meters below, looked murky and rough . . . with floating chunks of ice.

“Hey there!”

Roy turned towards the voice and saw an old man walking towards him.

“What are you doing here?” the old man asked Roy.
“Oh, well . . . I’m . . . I’m just watching the fish,” Roy replied.
“Well, I’m heading to the park. Why don’t you join me?”
“Well . . . alright.”



In the Park

When they arrived at the park, both sat on a bench. Roy then told the old man everything about his bakery business and his situation . . .

It was getting late.

“I think I can help you,” the old man finally said.

He took a checkbook out of his pocket, asked Roy his name, and wrote out a check. Folding it, he placed it in Roy’s hand.

“Take this check. It may help just a little. We can meet here one year from now, and at the same time. And then, you can pay me back.”

Roy put the folded check in his pocket. The two shook hands and parted company.

Return Home

When Roy returned home, he took the check out of his pocket, unfolded and looked at it.

The amount written was for one million dollars. The signature read “Warren Edward Buffett”.

“YAHOOOOO!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!” Roy shouted out loud. “Now all my problems are solved!”

But when he got a hold of himself, he thought that cashing the check would be too easy and the obvious thing to do.

No. Instead he decided to put the check in a safe.

There it would remain as a backup, a safety measure that he could draw upon at any time, if absolutely necessary.

Power Energy Force

The following day, Roy got up early and dove into his business with renewed motivation … enthusiasm … gusto … drive … vigor … vitality … power … energy … force …

Over the course of the next few weeks, he met with his creditors and suppliers. He put forth new proposals and renegotiated the terms of agreements with them.

In the end, he got them to extend his debt payments.

Roy then contacted his old clients and new prospects. Through unprecedented tact and charisma, he closed several deals and signed new contracts.

Over the following month, Roy’s sales slowly began picking up. Within the next quarter, his company had climbed out of the red.

Business was going strong, despite the still weak economy.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .


One Year Later

A year went by.

By this time, Roy felt that he had made more progress in the past twelve months than in the previous fourteen years that he had been in the bakery business.

The Park

On the appointed date, Roy returned to the park with the still uncashed check.

At exactly the agreed upon time, the old man emerged from the darkness and approached Roy once more, exactly as he had done a year earlier on the bridge.

‘I can hardly wait to tell Mr. Buffett what had happened since we first met,’ Roy thought.

Then just as Roy was about to say hello and give him a big handshake, a woman in a white outfit came running out of the darkness.

She ran up to the old man and grabbed him by the arm.

“Eugene! I’m so glad I’ve found you!” she said to the old man. Turning to Roy she said that she had hoped the old man hadn’t been bothering him.

She explained that the old man lived in a retirement community, and that he liked to wander around the city — but often got lost.

“Oh, and, by the way, he’s got a very peculiar habit: he’s always going around telling people that he’s Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett!!! Can you believe that!?! Hahaha!. . . Okay Eugene, let’s go back now.”

Roy watched the woman lead the old man out of the park. He then looked down at the uncashed check in his hand, for one million dollars — signed “Warren Edward Buffett”.


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1. Roy was a CEO of a large, high-tech corporation. Is this correct or incorrect?

2. Had his business remain steady and constant over the years, or had there been changes (ups and downs)?

3. Roy was married (in the beginning). True of false?

4. Where did he go one day? Why did he go there?

5. Did he jump off the bridge?

6. What did they do? Where did they go? What happened in the park? What happened after Roy got back home?

7. Roy was the same person after that night in the park. Is this right or wrong? Why did he change?

8. Was the following year the same as the previous fourteen years?

9. What happened in the end?

10. Is there a moral or lesson to this story? What is the moral, lesson or theme of this story?
A. Are you or any of your friends a business owner or entrepreneur?

B. What is it like? Is it easy, very difficult or in between? Is it fun, thrilling and challenging?

C. How could you or your friend improve your or his or her business?

D. Do you or your friends have ideas for starting your own business?

E. What would happen if you had unshakeable self-confidence, just like Roy in the story? If I were very confident, I would . . .

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