“Growing up i had many people to look up to. I’ll tell you about my father and his boss.
My father worked as a driver to one rich businessman, Mr Masato. When i was in third grade, i had to follow my father to his main office. He had to do something there and somehow i ended up following him.
As he sat filling in some form, the room suddenly went quiet and everyone rose, bowing to this man who just entered. I just stood there staring; wow, this must be some special man who just walked in.
I remember he wore really stylish clothes (at that point i didn’t know what a tailored suit was) that looked crisp and expensive. He had neat, black hair and he was very handsome. He walked like a boss.
He quietly greeted people with a smile as he walked down the hall, stopping here and there to exchange a few words. I heard my father whispering urgently for me, and when i turned he frantically but stealthily waved me over. I took a step to him then i stopped. I wanted to see this cool man!
So i turned and stood in his path, just staring at him.
He saw me and gave me a kind smile. He walked up to me then knelt down, and asked, “and who’s child are you?”
Wordlessly i pointed to my father, who had hurried forward bowing and apologising frantically.
This cool man patted my father’s knee and gently shushed him. He turned back to me.
“Do you know what your father is?”
I guess he was some kind of boss, and if my dad worked here then obviously he was the driver.
Cool man Mr Masato looked down, a small smile on his face. Then he looked at me.
“Not just any driver. Every morning i put my life in his hands and trust him to drive me to work. He is never late, he is a good driver, and he is a good man. You should be proud to have a father like that,” he stood up and ruffled my hair before gently leading my father away, to talk.
That day on my father had the car to send me and our neighbours’ kids to school, every day. He would greet them all cheerily and even opened the door for us when we arrived, and that made us feel super special. Why did he do that? “I’m a driver, son, that is my job and i do it well,” he answered once with a genuine smile and twinkle in his eyes.
Only when i was older did i understand what happened the day i first met Cool Boss Mr Masato: those forms were for my father’s new contract. Mr Masato wanted to make adjustments to his schedule, and he realized that opened up the possibility of my father sending me to school… so why not use his car?
My father always spoke highly of his boss. He never failed to mention the favours his boss had done for us, and even told me to grow up to be a good man like his boss. “Boss is a smarter and more charming man than i am; learn from him! Every time you see him, observe him closely. When you get the chance to speak to him, listen closely to his words,”
Growing up i was privileged to be in the company of a simple man who worked a humble job, who did not hesitate one moment to praise and say good things about another person, especially his boss Mr Masato. Every now and then i also had the good fortune of hanging around a man who literally owned shopping malls and hotels, who made others around him feel like they were so important and amazing. He never told lies nor sugarcoated anything. All he did was recognise everyone for who they were, and then showing everyone love and respect.
My father might not have realized this but as a growing young man, it hit me really hard that it took a big man to admit that another man was better than himself, in whatever way. It took a big man to recognize his place in society and fulfil his duties with pride and excellence. It took a big man to admit to such things without degrading himself. And for all that my father was the biggest man in my eyes.