Mr. Crumpton owned a manufacturing company that made scrubs for doctors and nurses. In his employ were about a hundred workers, including cutters, seamstresses, shaders, ticket-makers and quality control experts.
He ran a tight ship and was a strict employer but he was a fair one. He paid a decent wage and expected a decent days’ work. Jobs in his company were hard to come by as his employees tended to stay. Some of them had been with him since the first day the doors opened.
He was feared by a few, as he was an imposing character. Six foot, four inches tall and still built like a Marine at sixty-five years old.
A few of the older women had secret crushes on him, for no other reason than he was so mysterious. Being long before the age of computers where everybodys’ life was clearly available, only his secretary knew anything about him. If he had a family, only she knew and she didn’t talk.
The only thing that was known, was that he had started the company forty years earlier, armed only with a shoestring budget and sheer grit and determination.
Every year around this time, he was faced with having to deal with the holiday season. There were requests for parties and celebrations. It wasn’t that he could be labeled a “Scrooge,” he just had it in mind that taking time out for something as frivolous as a Christmas party had the potential for missing deadlines and slower production, both of which translated into lost revenue.
The girls who worked in the office, gave up their lunch hour to put up a tree in the lobby. Mr. Crumpton didn’t complain but would have never suggested any sort of holiday decorations.
Two weeks before Christmas, the new hospital that Mr. Crumpton had been contracted to provide the uniforms for was going to open ahead of schedule, which had been a possibility stated in the contract. In order to avoid a penalty, it meant that production would have to increase in order to meet the promised deadline for delivery. That also meant overtime for workers and no time for parties.
No apologies were extended. His workers were disappointed but they had always been loyal and dependable and were prepared to meet the challenge. Mr. Crumpton had always valued their loyalty and after he thanked them, he quietly slipped into his office.
His secretary went in and cautiously suggested that maybe this once, he could give his employees a bonus for their efforts, as he had never given bonuses before. His response was, “I pay them for a days’ work and I pay them for an extra days’ work. I don’t pay them for sentimentality.”
The deadline was met and the employees celebrated with cheers as soon as the last bundle of scrubs was packed into a box for delivery on Christmas Eve. The expected visit on the floor from Mr. Crumpton didn’t come.
The day after Christmas, production once again back in full swing, was interrupted when his secretary asked for everyones’ attention.
“First, I want to thank all of you for a job well done and I hope everybody had a Merry Christmas.” After the cheers and applause settled down, she said,” but I’m afraid I have some sad news. Mr. Crumpton died suddenly early this morning.”
All the employees stood silently stunned after hearing the news. She went on to say that there was going to be a meeting that afternoon at two o’clock but she would like for them to continue working until then, if they were able.
That afternoon, again the employees stood silently stunned when an attorney informed them that Mr. Crumpton had left his entire fortune of 4.1 million dollars…to them.