the businessman

The Businessman



supplier creditor close in
continue struggle declare
bankruptcy fold (2) decide
bridge appear look down (2)
darkness downcast demand
to demand supply what’s the matter
intently check checkbook
solve instead cash a check
safe (2) draw (2) draw upon
renew plunge enthusiasm
extend negotiate settlement (2)
terms payment close
within debt close sale
emerge once more led him away
arm apologize catch/caught





The Business Man

There’s a story about a man whose business was in serious trouble.

He had lost some big sales. He was deeply in debt. And his suppliers and creditors were closing in on him.

He didn’t whether he should continue struggling or just declare bankruptcy and let his business fold.

Walk in the Park

So he decided to go for a walk in the park that evening and think it over and decide what to do.

He was standing in the park on a small bridge looking down at the water, when an older man appeared out of the darkness.

The Older Man

Seeing his downcast look, the older man stopped and demanded to know what was the matter.

For some reason, the business man told him all about his financial problems and how close his business was to collapsing — even though it was a good business and had a good potential future.

The Response

The older man listened intently and then said, “I think I can help you.”

He pulled a checkbook out of his pocket, asked the man his name and wrote out a check for him, pushed it in his hand and said, “Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today, and you can pay me back at that time.”

Then the older man turned and disappeared into the darkness.

Return to the Office

When the business man returned to his office, he opened up the check and found that it was for — $500,000.

The signature read *John D. Rockefeller*.

He had received a check for half-a-million dollars from the richest man in the world at that time, the man who had formed the standard oil company, AND who was well known for giving money away to others.


At first he thought he would cash his check and solve all his financial problems.

But then he decided that instead he would put the check in a safe, knowing that he could draw upon it at any time, and he would use this knowledge to deal more confidently with his suppliers and creditors and to turn his business around.


So with renewed enthusiasm, he PLUNGED back in his business and made deals, negotiated settlements, extended terms of payments, and closed several large sales.

Within a few months, his business was back on top, out of debt and making money.

A Year Later

One year later, he went back in the bridge in the park with the uncashed check still in his hand.

He could hardly wait to tell the older man what had happened.

At exactly the agreed upon time, the older man emerged from the darkness once more.

Just as he was…

Just as the business man was about to give him back his check and tell him his exciting story of success and achievement over the previous twelve months, a nurse came running out of the darkness, up to the old man and grabbed his arm.

She apologized to the businessman saying, “I’m so glad I caught him. I hope he hasn’t been bothering you. He’s always escaping from the resting home and going around telling people that he’s John D. Rockefeller.”

She took the old man’s arm, and let him away.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *



1. Who is the main character? What was his job?

2. Describe his situation at the beginning of the story?

3. How did he feel? Was he thinking of giving up?

4. He went to a club with his friends. Yes or no? What happened there?

5. The business man cashed the check. True or false?

6. Did the business man change? How did he change? What happened to his business?

7. What happened in the end?

8. What is the moral of the story?

9. Can you think of any examples of this?

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