Four years ago, I was introduced to Michael at the Deli. We struck up an immediate friendship. Somehow, it came out in conversation that I had done some writing in years gone by.
He asked if I would be kind enough to read an offering to potential stockholders in a business that he was putting together. I said “Sounds interesting. Send it to me via email.” He did.
I could not believe what I was reading! In his attempts to preserve maximum ownership for himself, his choice of words was doing just the opposite! I edited the entire legal offering putting my changes in red and returned it to him. It was not a small job; It was loaded with mistakes.
When he saw what I had done without asking to be paid for doing it, he said: “Anybody who will do what you did out of kindness for somebody you don’t really know, I want YOU on my Board of Directors.”
Four years have gone by during which time Michael has had to overcome many challenges he faced including on-the-take government workers being used by competing large companies to block his entry into his field of endeavor. During this time, Michael also helped his wife run her business.
During that time, he sent me every presentation for me to edit before putting it forth to the public or to governmental agencies. I don’t believe there was even one document that did not require my editing – all without charge. Frankly, it gave me something to do and I enjoyed it.
Michael has given me a 1% ownership in his new firm and asked me to serve on his Board of Directors. The 1% will be owned by my Living Trust that will pass automatically to my heirs at my demise. I have no idea what that 1% will be worth if anything. Because he has met my son Steve and immediately recognized how intelligent and how quick to grasp he was, he did not object to my naming Steve to take my place on the Board of Directors. Michael said he expects to be able to pay a $50,000 a year stipend to each member of the board once there is cash flow coming in.
Four years have passed. Michael is within a few months of beginning production of his products. He has multiple groups of investors waiting to taste his products and climb on board to a runaway train – which includes a patent.
So, because I offered to and helped a man I didn’t know get from ground zero to the production stage without charging him for my services, he will probably be hiring hundreds of employees and enable others to also hire hundreds of employees to produce and market quality products at competitive prices. At the same time, I expect my son to be a positive addition to the company and be paid a meaningful stipend for doing so….all because I was willing to reach out and help another.