The Millionaire

Every morning, the CEO of a large bank in Manhattan walks to the corner where a shoe shine is always located.

He steps up on the armchair, examines the Wall Street Journal, and the shoeshine gives his shoes a shiny, excellent look.

One morning the shoeshine asks the Executive Director: “What do you think about the situation in the stock market?”

The Director asks in turn, arrogantly: “Why are you so interested in that topic?”

“I have a million dollars in your bank,” the shoeshine says, “and I’m considering investing some of the money in the capital market.”

“What’s your name?” asks the Director.

“Fred Smith.”

The Director arrives at the bank and asks the Manager of the Customer Service Department, “Do we have a client named Fred Smith?”

“Certainly,” answers the Customer Service Manager. “He is a highly esteemed customer. He has a million dollars in his account.”

The Director leaves the bank and approaches the shoeshine.

“Mr. Smith, I’m asking you this coming Monday to be the guest of honor at our board meeting and tell us the story of your life. I am sure we will have something to learn from you.”

At the board meeting, the Executive Director introduces him to the board members.

“We all know Mr. Smith, who makes our shoes shine so brightly in the corner. But Mr. Smith is also our esteemed customer with a million dollars in his account. I invited him to tell us the story of his life. I am sure we can learn from him.”

Mr. Smith began his story: “Well, I came to this country fifty years ago as a young immigrant from Europe with an unpronounceable name. I got off the ship without a penny. The first thing I did was change my name to Smith. I was hungry and exhausted. I started wandering around looking for a job but to no avail. Suddenly I found a coin on the sidewalk. I bought an apple. I had two options: eat the apple and quench my hunger or start a business. I sold the apple for two dollars and bought two apples with the money. I also sold them and continued in business. When I started accumulating dollars, I was able to buy a set of used brushes and shoe polish and started polishing shoes. I didn’t spend a penny on entertainment or clothing, I just bought bread and some cheese to survive. I saved penny by penny and after a while, I bought a new set of shoe brushes and ointments in different shades and expanded my clientele. I lived like a monk and saved penny by penny. After a while, I was able to buy an armchair so that my clients could sit comfortably while cleaning their shoes, and that brought me more clients. I did not spend a penny on the joys of life. I kept saving every penny. A few years ago, when the previous shoe shine on the corner decided to retire, I had already saved enough money to buy his shoeshine location at this great place.

“Finally, three months ago, my sister, who was a prostitute in Chicago, passed away and left me a million dollars.”